By Sadeq Fereydounabadi 

A Confederacy of Dunces

February 19, 2023 - 22:58

TEHRAN – Unlike previous years, officials in charge of the Munich Security Conference refrained from inviting Iranian and Russian officials despite the fact that the West urgently needs to foster dialogue with the two powers.

The annual Munich Security Conference was held from February 17 to 19, 2023 with the participation of many Western officials. The absence of Iranian and Russian officials was remarkable, given that the West’s relations with the two countries have come to a Zeitenwende each in a different way.

On Iran, the West went so far as to invited Iranian opposition figures who are known for their anti-Iran stances such as advocating for sanctions and war. In Munich, French President Emmanuel Macron met one of those figures and reportedly vowed to hold a meeting with the Iranian opposition, a move that further escalated tensions with Iran at a time when Tehran and the West have not resumed talks in Vienna over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran said the West is raising an Iranophobic furor to justify its  actions that violate the human rights of the Iranian people. “The media furor of the US regime and some European countries over Iran is a futile Iranophobic attempt aimed at justifying their illegal and anti-human rights actions against the Iranian people,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Twitter. He added, “Creating external crises and playing a blame game is a threadbare tactic of the West and the apartheid Zionist regime to cover up their internal crises amid repeated popular protests and strikes, particularly when they are facing tough challenges on the international stage.”

The MSC officials refusing to invite Iran is bizarre and stands in stark contrast to the principles of freedom of expression which the West claims to cherish. It’s bizarre because those who have been invited can by no means represent Iran at the levels of government and people. And by excluding Iran, the MSC officials deprived themselves and the world from having genuine “high-level debates” on one of the most pressing issues facing the West, which is the need to lift sanctions on Iran. In addition, they violated the principles of freedom of expression and turned the one-time prestigious gathering into an echo chamber that is only reflecting voices from the West.

The MSC gained nothing by excluding Iran, which itself gained nothing from attending this forum in previous years. Today, Iran is an emerging power that is contributing to the rise of the post-West era, in which non-Western powers are joining forces to create a fair and just world order. 

The Munich Security Conference, especially in the current critical situation, is losing the opportunity to prove itself as a leading international forum in discussing security issues to achieve peace in the world.

Traditionally, this event should have discussed international crises such as the Ukraine war, or important international issues, such as the revival of the JCPOA, in an open space and on the way to a solution, in the form of a dialogue.

But now the world witnessed that Russia and Iran were not invited at all.

The Munich Security Conference has never been neutral and has always carried the name “Trans-Atlantic” with it, but despite this, a platform for serious discussions has often been provided to the representatives of different countries in this Conference.

But this year's event is more like the annual meetings of a party, where most of the audience and invitees represent more or less the same opinion and are supposed to use this opportunity to show their cohesion.

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