The United States and Poland are organizing a summit on the Middle East in mid-February that is to take place in Warsaw. While the agenda should be comprehensive and cover the entire region, Tehran has already dismissed the meeting as a “desperate anti-Iranian circus”. In the meantime, the European Union is trying to find a common position reconciling the many opinions within the bloc.
The gathering has already been labelled the ‘most important event’ held in the Polish capital since the 2016 NATO summit. EU’s head of diplomacy Federica Mogherini is not going to attend the conference due to conflicting schedules. Her absence is adding to the speculations that several EU ministers might be holding off on their decisions to attend. Germany is one of the countries that is yet to make a call as well.
The relations between the United States and Iran have been tense following last year’s decision by US President Trump to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose punitive measures against the country, specifically targeting its key oil sector. “The ministerial will address a range of critical issues including terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region,” a joint statement by the co-hosting countries read.
Iran has been outraged by the conference and is considering retaliatory action against Poland. For start, the Iranian Ministry of Culture announced that it was suspending a festival of Polish films that should have been held later this month. Polish leadership said that Tehran’s reaction was not unexpected and “did not go beyond the repeatedly reiterated rhetoric of Iranian messages.” “This is a conference aimed at seeking paths to peace, Poland is the place of its organization precisely because it is neutral in terms of conflicts in which countries in the Middle East are involved”, Krzysztof Szczerski, the Polish president’s chief aide, commented.