By Javad Heirannia

Warsaw meeting did not achieve its goal: Shireen Hunter

February 18, 2019

TEHRAN - Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that “The Warsaw meeting did not achieve its goal.”

“To begin with, the meeting originally was billed as a forum to create a broad-based front against Iran,” Hunter tells the Tehran Times.

She adds that “But the organizers, in the face large -scale opposition, had to refocus it as a meeting on peace and stability on the Middle East. This meant that the meeting was a failure form the start.”

Following is the text the interview:

Q: Do you think that anti-Iran Warsaw meeting reach to its goal on Iran?

A: The Warsaw meeting did not achieve its goal. To begin with, the meeting originally was billed as a forum to create a broad-based front against Iran. But the organizers, in the face large -scale opposition, had to refocus it as a meeting on peace and stability on the Middle East. This meant that the meeting was a failure form the start. The conference itself rather than being a show of unity, demonstrated the deep differences between Europe and America and even within Arab states vis a vis Iran, but also on such issues as the status of East Jerusalem and the so-called deal of the century.

Q: Again in this meeting U.S. wants for withdrawing the EU countries from JCPOA. But three European countries emphasized on remaining in this agreement. Can we interpret this as isolation of Trump administration in this regard?

A: The meeting demonstrated that, except for Israel and such Arab states as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, no country favors the extremely hardline policy of the Trump administration against Iran. In this sense, the Warsaw meeting showed the limited support for Trump's policy on Iran and in that sense, it reflected a degree of America's isolation on this issue.

Q: Germany, France, and the European Union — all members in the Iran nuclear deal — didn’t send high- level delegates to Warsaw meeting and Arab nations sent low-level delegates to the sessions. Why?

A: The absence of some countries and the low-level of European representation, except for Britain, was a reflection of their unwillingness to be associated with Both Trump's belligerent stand on Iran, but also its so-called deal of the century on the Palestinian issue. The success of this deal is by no means guaranteed and these states want to keep their options open.

Q: The main achievement of Warsaw meeting was showing the normalization of some Arab countries with Israel. What do you think?

A: Those who work on Middle East issues, were aware of the fact that some Arab states have had secret relations with Israel at least since the mid1990s. Now, these connections have become more open. However, they are still far from having reached the level of normalization. None of these states, except for Egypt and Jordan, have officially recognized Israel or established diplomatic relations with it. I don't believe as long as there is no acceptable solution to the Palestinian problem, Arab states will fully normalize their ties with Israel. However, the trend seems to be in that direction, but the situation could change if there is a change of government or direction in some of the key Arab states.

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