After Iranian and Russian engineers began loading fuel into Iran's first nuclear power plant on Saturday, Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said his country would not allow the US to use its territory to launch an attack against "any country."
Khalifa was quoted by the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat as saying Saturday that the existence of an American military base in Bahrain does not mean his country would permit it to be used "to attack Iran or other countries."
On Thursday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country's "brothers and allies in the Persian Gulf would not allow their territory to be used for a strike on Iran.
"The leaders of these countries are aware of the Israeli-American plots in the region, and despite the fact that we do not believe war will break out, we are prepared for all possibilities," he said.
'Coordination with sleeper cells'
The Bahraini FM told Asharq Al-Awsat that the agreements signed between Washington and Manama are defensive in nature.
Khalifa added that foreign military bases in Bahrain "do not even hold offensive weapons."
In early 2010 American officials said the US expanded land-and sea-based missile defense systems in and around the Gulf to counter what it sees as Iran's growing missile threat.
The deployments included expanded land-based Patriot defensive missile installations in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain, as well as Navy ships with missile defense systems within striking distance in and around the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas reported that Bahrain's security establishment has informed Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Persian Gulf states that armed terror cells are prepared to strike within their territory in the event of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
According to the report, Bahraini intelligence agencies arrested 250 people who are suspected of belonging to a terror network operating in the country.
The suspects admitted they were part of a "military organization in one of the region's countries" and that they were coordinated with sleeper cells in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the report said.
Reuters contributed to the report
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