Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said in an interview with the Saudi Al-Arabiya TV that the goal behind the Gulf states' decision to cut ties with Iran and to designate Hizbullah a "terror organization" was to send Iran and its satellites in the region a message that "we are serious in confronting them." When asked whether Iran was more dangerous than Israel to the Gulf states, Minister Al Khalifa said that the Gulf states "wish to have good relations with both," but that the danger they are facing now comes from Iran. The interview was aired on March 31, 2016.
Following are excerpts
Interviewer: You have cut your ties with Iran, and have designated Hizbullah a "terror organization." What is the practical outcome of this? What has changed?
Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa: We wanted to convey a message to Iran and to all its satellites in the region that we are serious in confronting them. By no means will we hesitate to defend our countries, our peoples, our interests, and our brothers in the region, because this is a vital issue for us.
Exercise North Thunder is a message to anyone who thinks he could harm the region.
Interviewer: Including Iran?
Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa: Yes, naturally, because our biggest problem at this point in time is with Iran.
Interviewer: Are you saying that Iran is more dangerous than Israel to the Gulf states?
Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa: Look, we wish to have good relations with both, but under the current circumstances and challenges, the Iranian danger is what we see before our eyes.