|The US-sponsored Middle East conference held in Warsaw from February 13 to 14 was Washington’s attempt to gather world powers to build an alliance and put pressure on Iran to resume its nuclear activities. The two-day conference was held to initiate a peace dialogue in the Middle East region, amid US withdrawal of forces from Syria and Afghanistan.
The, meeting which was said to be attended by 60 nations, was boycotted by European powers like Germany and France (due to tensions over US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal) and other nations like Russia and China, Palestinians and Iran. Iran went a step ahead and demeaned the meeting as a “circus” aimed at “demonizing” it.
A senior U.S. official told reports about the Warsaw agenda. He said, “There will be discussions about Iran’s influence in the Middle East, what we can do to help get Iran on a more helpful footing than it has been, to collectively push back on some of its malign behaviour in the region.”
Besides the Iran issue, the aim of the meeting was also to find resolution to the decades long Palestinians-Israel conflict, and the political upheaval in Syria and Yemen.
In order to control Iran, US aims to issue new sanctions in an attempt to isolate Iran mainly by cutting off revenue from Iran’s oil sector and persuading European companies to abandon business with Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the forum to build closer ties with Arab leaders. On his way to the conference he told reporters, “It is a conference that unites the United States, Israel, many countries in the world, many countries in the region, Arab countries, against Iran’s aggressive policy, its aggression, its desire to conquer the Middle East and destroy Israel.”
In a joint opinion piece published on Wednesday by CNN, Mike Pompeo (US Secretary of State) and Jacek Czaputowicz (Polish Foreign Minister) said, “We expect each nation to express opinions that reflect its own interests. Disagreements in one area should not prohibit unity in others.”
In an open verbal confrontation between Washington and Tehran, US national security adviser John Bolton called Iran “the central banker of international terrorism”. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refused to conduct any negotiations with US and commented, “About the United States, the resolution of any issues is not imaginable and negotiations with it will bring nothing but material and spiritual harm.” He described any possible future dealing with US as an “unforgiveable mistake” that would be like “going on your knees before the enemy and kissing the claws of the wolf.”
While the US hosted Warsaw talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Iran and Turkey on Thursday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to resolve the Syrian conflict amidst the US troops pull out. Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia gave an assurance to Syria, saying “We will do all we can to help the Syrian government and its armed forces to solve the problem of liberating their territory.” Russia is trying to play a bigger role in the Middle East.