Warsaw ME conference doomed to fail from the very beginning: Iranian FM

Iran’s FM Mohammad Javad Zarif continued to picture the upcoming Warsaw Middle East Conference as an anti-Iranian platform that has failed even before its inauguration scheduled for February 13-14.

"The Warsaw meeting was rendered doomed to failure before (its) start," FM Zarif told Iran's state information agency ICANA.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the meeting last month, saying it would focus on Iran's policy in the region. The event will also revolve around building peace and improving the Middle East’s stability.

Later in January, the acting Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations ambassador Jonathan Cohen, told the UN Security Council that the meeting was "not a venue to demonise or attack Iran."

According to the Iranian Press TV station, the Iranian FM noticed that numerous countries have decided not to take part in the conference and on that fact based his critical remark. "It seems the summit will not be taking place in the format that the Americans would have wanted it to," said Mr Zarif.

The complex background

The conference is also seen by some observers as a part of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” that envisages a solution to the years-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The spearhead of the plan was to boost Gaza and the West Bank’s economic development as a means of increasing its competitiveness and survivability.

This would come at the price of the Palestinians conceding permanent control over Jerusalem with large Israeli settlement zones and a limited sovereignty arrangement for the Palestinian authorities. This, however, was jeopardised by the US move to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and recognising the city as Israeli.

This was strongly stressed by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who told Russia’s Sputnik News that for Palestine the US fell from its negotiator’s position after that move. Mr Abbas also said that he will not send a Palestinian delegation to Warsaw because “the Middle East conference should be held in the presence of all interested parties.”

Moreover, many Arab states were dissatisfied with solutions proposed within the “Deal of Century”. Saad El Gammal, head of the Egyptian parliament's Arab Affairs Committee said that “most of the Arab world – including Egypt and Saudi Arabia – have rejected the U.S.-proposed Deal of the Century,” adding that tackling the political question of Jerusalem, borders and refugees should come before detailed planning.

Iran is a natural opponent to the US in terms of finding a solution to the Middle East question and a way to stabilise it. Lebanon’s administrative structures, for instance, are strongly infiltrated with Hezbollah members – an organisation supported, trained and supplied by Iran and considered a terrorist organisation by the US.

The "Ministerial Meeting to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East," held jointly by Poland and the United States, will take place in Warsaw on February 13-14. It is expected that representatives of a dozen or so countries will take part in the meeting, including US Vice-President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran was not invited to Warsaw.