- At a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Warsaw, the United States wanted to discuss the future of the Middle East with more than 70 states.
- In important European capitals, the meeting was perceived as an attempt to divide the Europeans and to win over willing people for the US course against Iran.
- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif talks about the meeting of a "circus". One winner, however, could be Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Two replies were given by American diplomats following the withdrawal of President Donald Trump from the nuclear deal with Iran on how the White House plans to win over Europeans for its "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran. One of them shrugged resignedly with his shoulder. The others said that the Europeans needed a little more time to sulk until they too swung in the hard line. It will first convince the allies in Asia, then it would be the Europeans turn. One sees the threat of Iran very similar, only in the choice of means there are just different views.
Now, for Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo, the time had come. During a trip through nine Arab states in January, his ministry announced that the US, together with Poland, would organize a Foreign Ministers meeting in Warsaw. Pompeo was in the Gulf States right now, saying frankly that Iran will be the central theme of the conference. Officially it was said that they wanted to consult with more than 70 predominantly Western and Arab states on how to promote a "future of peace and security" in the Middle East. The US had their experiences there, etched a diplomat from a European country in view of the lies justified Iraq invasion in 2003.
The meeting took place in major European capitals as an attempt to divide the Europeans and win the willing among them for the US course – one feels reminded of Donald Rumsfeld's coalition of the willing and his dictum of old and new Europe. It is also suspicious that Pompeo is ensnaring right-wing populist governments like those in Hungary or Poland.
The meeting reveals a deep dissent
The presence of Vice President Mike Pence and Trump's Middle East adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was apparently intended to add to the pressure, underscore the political importance Washington attaches to the event. But instead of producing unity, the meeting, which began with a dinner on Wednesday night, once again exposes the deep dissension between the Trump administration and its major US allies in Europe; China and Russia boycott the conference.
France, whose president Emmanuel Macron tried a manhood friendship with Trump, sends only the political director of the Foreign Ministry. From Berlin comes Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Foreign Office. British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has confirmed his participation, but only after the organizers, contrary to their original plans, agreed to put a discussion on the Yemen war on the agenda.
The three countries had recently set up a special purpose vehicle in Paris to handle legal business with the Islamic Republic under European law. Ultimately, it helps companies undermine US financial and economic sanctions. No corporation or corporation that has significant business interests in the US will make use of it – but the political signal is devastating for Trump. And the Europeans hope to be able to maintain trade at least to the extent that existed before the conclusion of the nuclear agreement, although at that time there were also sanctions in the EU.
Poland does not agree with the approach of the American Iran policy
Already in Asia, close allies such as Japan and South Korea had requested exemptions to continue importing oil from Iran. And against all the brash rhetoric from Washington, the imports would have to be shut down to zero, Washington gave them.
Even co-organizer Poland, in the words of Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, one of Trump's closest allies, struggles to avoid the impression of an anti-Iran conference. Poland supports the nuclear agreement, he said, and does not agree with the approach of American Iran policy. Iran had previously summoned the Polish Ambassador in Tehran to the Foreign Ministry.
Originally talking about the proliferation of rockets, terrorism support and other things accused by Washington, Iran is now being discussed, especially at the insistence of Poland, on the Middle East peace process, the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State, Syria and Yemen , "Really good results," Pompeo hopes for the debates this Thursday, as he said. Neither he nor Czaputowicz answered the question of what exactly they expect from the meeting – usually at such conferences, final statements have been negotiated in advance.
But this will be largely about public perception – there is talk of a PR event. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif even speaks of a "circus". However, a winner of the Warsaw meeting could be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He should sit down with high-ranking representatives of Arab states at a table and could once again demonstrate that Israel's isolation in the region is broken – and his assessment of Iran as a threat is widely shared.