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Failed conference ‘a lesson’ for the US

2019-02-18

Source: Global Times    Published: 2019-2-13


A US-hosted conference in Warsaw to pressure Iran received a lukewarm response from US allies, with Chinese analysts saying this could be a lesson for the Trump administration to rethink its unwise hostile policy toward Iran.


Arriving in Poland to host an international conference on Middle East peace and security, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that more than 30 foreign ministers would attend, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.


However, many countries have said they will not be sending their top diplomats to the meeting - possibly nearly half. What was originally meant as a major US-backed conference to unify its European allies and pressure Iran is now  likely to be defined by low interest among US allies.


For instance, Scratch Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, said she had a prior commitment. France and Germany are sending second-tier level diplomats. Russia won't be there at all. And the British foreign secretary may leave early, the Washington Post reported.


Hua Liming, a Middle East studies expert and a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "in the past, Iran was isolated before it reached a nuclear deal with the Obama administration in 2015, but now, the Trump administration is isolating itself on the Iranian nuclear issue."


Although the US and Iran have been hostile toward each other since 1979, the policy implemented by the Trump administration is the most clumsy compared to its predecessors, Hua said. "It has been proven that the US can unify neither the UN Security Council nor its European allies. Only a few Arabic countries led by Saudi Arabia and Israel will support the US."


In September 2018, the EU even created a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran in light of the US withdrawal from the international agreement on Tehran's nuclear program and the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions, the Xinhua News Agency reported.


The legal entity will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with EU laws and could be open to other partners in the world. China and Russia all vowed to support it.


Because the euro is the second largest currency for international payments, the EU is most qualified to propose a special payment system to counter US sanctions, said Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.


The Warsaw conference could be a lesson to the US because it seems like the US has failed to generate support from its European allies, Hua said. "If it refuses to make changes, its stubborn policy will fair to achieve its expectations. Without support from the EU, China and Russia, no sanctions will work against Iran."


Hua Liming is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Iran   US   EU   Hua Liming  

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