This photo speaks volumes about the current situation in Bahrain, particularly as this photo wasn’t even taken in Bahrain. It is one of the many demonstrations across Iran over the last few days, organized by the Iranian regime and featuring Iranian protesters waving Bahraini flags, alongside images of leaders and slogans condemning “Saudi interference”.

Just to make the message crystal clear, leading hard-line newspaper Kayhan a few days ago headlined its front page: “Bahrain is part of Iran’s body”; and Iran’s leaders have once again been making inflammatory comments about Bahrain being part of Iran.

The issue being fought over in Bahrain is now bigger than that of reform, democracy and human rights – important as these issues are. What we are seeing is a naked attempt by Iran at a power grab.

This is what Iran has been working towards over the past year: Backing the protests, supporting the opposition leaders, and using its Arabic propaganda TV channels to pump sectarian hatred and incitement of violence directly into thousands of Bahraini homes.

Whether Bahrain’s protesters like it or not, they are effectively doing Iran’s bidding by maintaining a situation of civil unrest; undermining Bahrain’s international reputation; and fueling sectarian divisions – thus creating a situation in which Iran can grab for itself increasing influence.

Why does Iran fear the Gulf Union? Because it effectively slams the door on Iran’s fingers and prevents Iran’s continued sedition and provocation.

Bahrain is a tiny island, just ten miles across. Without international solidarity and protection we would be swallowed up by Iran in a matter of minutes. The Gulf Union is about protecting sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the smaller Gulf states.

Iran is a bully-state which would never dare directly challenge Saudi Arabia, the US or even Israel. Rather, it tries to achieve its expansionist aims by gaining power through its substitutes. We see this in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, as well as the manner in which Iran sponsors mass murder in Syria.

We have tolerated Iranian interference in Bahrain for too long. Please understand that we look at the Gulf Union as definitive means of security, the security and stability that we desperately require.

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