The Unites States may call off a controversial anti-Iran summit in Poland scheduled for next month as Washington is facing a setback due to a widening international boycott of the gathering, a report says.
Jonathan Cohen, the acting US ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the upcoming meeting in the Polish capital of Warsaw, jointly hosted by the US State Department, wasn’t a “venue to demonize or attack Iran.”
Some European diplomats said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may be forced to cancel the conference at the last minute due to “low attendance” or US allies’ refusal to send high-level officials, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Cohen went as far as calling the meeting a “global brainstorming session” with an agenda that revolved around cybersecurity, extremism and humanitarian aid to people trapped in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
The American envoy insisted that Washington had no plans to use the event as an opportunity to reopen arguments about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal either.
Upon announcing the summit earlier this month, Pompeo said the conference would focus on issues concerning stability and security in the Middle East, including the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”
The US administration’s assessment of its policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran shows it is actually not working, a US official said.
However, the push to form an international front against Iran was met with cold shoulders.
Ministers from several European Union countries and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini have indicated that they would skip the summit, which will be held on February 13-14.
Russia also declined the invitation to the Warsaw meeting on Tuesday, with Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia calling the event “counterproductive.”
Nebenzia said Washington should explain why Iran, as a regional power, wasn’t invited if the conference was really aimed at improving regional stability.
“Attempts to create some kind of military alliances in the region by holding conferences and focusing on having a simplified, unilateral approach that is clearly linked just to Iran are counterproductive,” Nebenzia told the Security Council.
Cohen tried to offer reassurances in response to the international criticism, saying while Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional influence would be discussed, “the scope of the discussion will be much broader than any one country or set of issues.”
Moscow says it will not attend in the so-called Middle East security forum, which is merely meant to “shift the international focus” from the real crises gripping the region.
According to some diplomats, the Polish foreign minister discussed the meeting with European foreign ministers and reassured them that Warsaw supported Iran’s nuclear agreement and that it planned to give a readout of the meeting to Iran.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has denounced the conference as an “anti-Iran circus” and slammed Poland for co-hosting the event with the US State department.
The apparent collapse of the Warsaw meeting is in many ways similar to the unraveling of another anti-Iran attempt by Washington in September. Back then, the White House was forced to broaden an anti-Iran Security Council session hosted by President Donald Trump to include other issues amid world leaders’ disagreement over America’s pressure campaign against Tehran.