(Persia Digest) – Iran’s former ambassador to Norway believes: “The Polish Summit is aimed at ending US isolation following its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which deepened the rift among European countries over Iran and exposed the Arab-Israeli friendship. However, US domestic problems and the issue of the Trump administration’s espionage can change the summit in terms of quality and quantity.”
The US Secretary of State has announced an anti-Iranian summit hosted by Poland on 13-14 February. According to Pompeo tens of Asian, European, and African foreign ministers will be attending the summit. Iran has criticized Poland for hosting the summit. At the same time, the German foreign minister has announced that the SPV mechanism will come into effect in the weeks to follow. Is the US trying to influence the SPV mechanism for Iran by staging this summit?
Speaking to Persia Digest (PD), Abdolreza Faraji-Rad said: “From over 70 countries invited by the US to the Poland Summit, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Albania are those who will definitely participate in the event. Moreover, due to some recent disputes between Iran and the Netherlands and Denmark, these two countries are also likely to attend the summit. I believe that the United Kingdom will also take part, but some other states will wait and see how others will respond to the invitation because the number and political weight of the participating states matter to some of the countries.”
He added: “It is clear that more eastern European members will be present in Warsaw than their western European counterparts, because the former have found disagreements with the latter on certain issues. There was a time when eastern European countries begged to join the European Union but now the situation has changed due to China’s economic activities. Presently, we are witnessing the formation of a 1+16 group in eastern Europe. That 1 is China which has succeeded in replacing western Europe in providing financial and technical support for eastern European states. In addition, eastern European states have some security concerns over the role played by Russia in recent developments in Georgia and Ukraine. This feeling of concern exists more among the Baltic states since the population of their border areas are of Russian origin. Therefore, they are more inclined to cooperate with the US. Poland, among others, has a special leniency towards the US because of its memories from the WWII era.”
Faraji-Rad added: “The other disagreement is related to the JCPOA. Eastern European countries believe that they should not sacrifice their good relations with the US for their relations with Iran. This feeling has been boosted due to their security concerns about Russia. Therefore, it is clear that despite sharing a friendly history and relations with Iran, presently, Poland has a government which has very close ties with the US and is strongly anti-Russian. Consequently, deciding to host the Warsaw Summit is not very shocking.”
He said: “We have to wait for the final statement of the Summit. An important issue which can overshadow the Poland Summit is the political situation inside the US. Trump’s future and the accusations he is facing can influence the Poland Summit.”
Stressing that the US State Department will hold the summit under any condition, Faraji-Rad said: “Not holding the summit will be a great disgrace for the US State Department. However, if the problems challenging Trump gather momentum, this will change the quantity and quality of participation by the invited countries because they need to know whether Trump will remain in the White House or not?”
Asked if hosting the summit by one of the members of the EU means that the Union itself is implicitly supporting the event, Faraji-Rad, also an expert on International Affairs, said: “The EU is against the Summit, but we need to remember that under the present circumstances Poland enjoys no good relations with the EU while Warsaw has warm relations with Washington.”
Commenting on the possibility of implementing the EU’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) mechanism with Iran simultaneously with the Poland Summit, the expert said: “The Summit can influence the implementation of the SPV because one of the goals of the summit is to end US isolation after its withdrawal from the JCPOA. Presently no country, except Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and a number of other Arab countries, agrees with US policies regarding the nuclear deal. Maybe other world states are concerned about establishing economic ties with Iran; however, they do agree to continue with the JCPOA. Thus, the low number of participating countries in the Warsaw Summit may lead to further continuation of US isolation after its withdrawal from the nuclear deal. However, the participation of 50-60 countries can damage this isolation.”
The former senior diplomat also said: “The upcoming summit has no single, specific final objective. The Summit can repair the aborted foreign policy of Trump’s administration. To this end, the US is pursuing several objectives by holding it including ending US post-JCPOA withdrawal isolation, deepening the rift among EU states over the issue of Iran, establishing friendship between Arabs and Israelis and even highlighting that relationship. Therefore, one of the major topics to be discussed during the Warsaw Summit can be exerting pressure on Iran to give up its motto of Israel disappearing.”
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