Jan 24, 2019 06:15 UTC
  • US in reverse gear on anti-Iran summit as international boycott widens: Report

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.

According to Press TV, 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 West Asia, including the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”

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.”

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.