US President Donald Trump will host Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa in Washington today. Top of the agenda
US President Donald Trump will host Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa in Washington today.
Top of the agenda is countering Iran, particularly in the Strait of Hormuz. As host of the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain is part of the coalition of US allies that the White House has rallied to patrol the Strait against Iranian aggression.
This visit is likely intended to show that Washington remains committed to stopping Iranian naval operations against international shipping. It is a continuation of the overall strategy to force Iran to the negotiating table over its production of nuclear material.
Today’s meeting comes after Trump sacked anti-Iran hawk John Bolton as national security adviser. This has raised optimism that Trump will ease his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
Although Tehran has welcomed Bolton’s removal, the two countries are still poles apart when it comes to agreeing to negotiations. Iran’s leaders seek sanctions relief before they agree to talks. This is unlikely to happen; Trump’s position is that Tehran must agree to negotiations before the White House considers sanctions relief. However, the President’s comments this week raised speculation he was open to such sanctions relief. But ultimately, unless Tehran agrees to a major concession—like agreeing to negotiate prior to sanctions relief—then the status quo will likely remain.