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"The US is trying to break Europe": controversial Iran conference opened in Poland

Some reject it as a mere "photo-op", a chance to show the ideologically motivated donors of the Donald Trump administration that they are doing something against Iran.

Others, especially Conservatives in Washington, say the top-class, but still gloomy two-day summit of the Foreign Ministers of the Middle East in Warsaw, which takes place in Warsaw on Wednesday, is a historic event in which Arab and Israeli representatives in the beginning of a regional Coalition against the Islamic Republic. US officials say that representatives from 60 countries, including dozens of foreign ministers, will be present.

"We will gather to talk about the future of stability and prosperity in the Middle East," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of the summit organizers, on Tuesday evening. "We are talking about the Middle East peace plan, we are talking about … fighting terrorism, we will talk about how these countries can work together. This is a global coalition focused on the important task of reducing the risk from the Middle East for far too long. "

The conference will certainly cause controversy. On Wednesday, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, demanded immediate regime change in Iran during a speech in the Eastern European city.

"Within a few years, a free Iran will be one of the world's leading nations," he told a jubilant crowd of followers of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq organization, a cult-like Iranian opposition group. "We will have it." The party sooner rather than later in Tehran and I want to be with you. "

European representatives, especially from France and Germany, are thrilled with the conference, which they see not only as an attempt to increase pressure on Tehran, but to encourage Member States to support a white-house White House agenda such as the son-in-law of Mr. Trump, Jared Kushner, who will also participate in the summit.

"The Europeans have been pushing Iran to dilute the Iranian element of the summit so that it does not look as if they are working extremely hard on this move," said Ellie Geranmayeh, deputy head of the European Council's Middle East program external relations, said. "They have been pushing for ways to deal with the ceasefire in Yemen or peace-building in Syria. They are doing everything they can to take far less account of Iran and the Middle East. "

In addition to the various cross-border conflicts in the Middle East and what many have described as trivializing the Trump administration's dealings with them, the Warsaw conference intersects with at least two more crises on the global agenda: fears of Russian expansion in the US East Europe and tensions with the EU in the midst of right-wing populism.

Iran is 40 years Islamic Republic

Poland risked the alienation of its two EU partners and Iran by agreeing to host the summit, partly to gain support in Washington for a permanent military base in the country – to ward off possible Kremlin advances.

"This conference is a game of chance," said Robert Czulda, professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Lodz. "For Poland, Russia is still a threat. This is the most important dimension of our foreign policy. The main goal of the Polish government is to have US bases, as there are American bases in Germany. "

The conference also takes place at a time when the EU has broken up into a number of important issues, including the right-wing populist movement of some Member States, including Poland and Hungary. EU officials are supposed to be furious that the Trump administration, which wanted to widen the divisions within the bloc, is trying to shake off some Member States like Poland by downgrading their relations with Brussels.

"Americans are trying to break Europe," said a European diplomat.

Mr. Pompeo sponsored the conference for the first time last month to limit Iran's influence in the region. Later, US officials attempted to dilute the Assembly's Iranian focus by removing the word "Iran" from the name of the Confab and renaming it the Peacebuilding Summit in Rebranding.

There were discussions that Trump would unveil elements of a major Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement at the summit, but the Palestinian representatives boycott the summit and rejected all decisions derived from it as a precautionary measure.

France and Germany will send young officials to the conference. British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt agreed at the last minute to attend, but only to hold a meeting on finding peace in Yemen.

Although the conference appears to be focusing on a broader solution to the problems of the Middle East, neither Palestinians, nor Yemen Houthis nor representatives of the Iranian-led axis, which includes the Lebanese Hezbollah, will participate. Russia rejected the conference.

For many, the summit is an attempt to establish an international imprimatur procedure for a meeting bringing together the foreign ministers of the anti-Iranian Alliance of the Arabian Peninsula, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has taken over his country's top diplomat.

The Iranian government officials and state television have dismissed the summit and called it defeat, as many countries do not have junior-level participation. Officials in Poland, which has long maintained historical relations and trade relations with Iran and supports the 2015 Trump-approved nuclear deal, have assured Tehran that nothing exciting will happen at the conference.

Strict security in front of the Royal Castle in the Old Town of Warsaw in front of the summit (Borzou Daragahi / The Independent)

The way in which Mr Pompeo presented the conference surprised Poland, "said Mrs Geranmayeh. "Tehran threw a tantrum, but was pleased that the agenda was postponed."

Teheran summoned the Polish ambassador and canceled a Polish film festival immediately after the conference was announced in January.

During a press briefing in Warsaw on Tuesday evening, Mr Pompeo and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz talked about their differences: "Poland is a part of the EU and therefore we agree and we accept the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement with Iran," Czaputowicz said. "The US has a different opinion, but that does not stop us from looking for a common approach."

However, some fear that any fierce anti-Iranian rhetoric and the sight of Israeli, American, Arab and European officials being appealed against them could only encourage Iran's stubborn security order.

"It is insubstantial; It's just the wool over the eyes of a group of teens watching on Twitter, "said Sanam Anderlini, founder of the International Civil Society Action Network, a group of peace advocates and former United Nations adviser. "What it does in Iran legitimizes the hardline position. It undermines those who try to bring about reforms, changes or an opening. "


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