U.S., Poland plan global meeting to pressure Iran: Pompeo
MANAMA: The United States and Poland will hold an international meeting on the Middle East that will seek to build pressure on Iran next month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
Pompeo arrived in Bahrain as part of his nine-nation tour of the Middle East aimed at reassuring U.S. allies after President Donald Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, which sparked concerns among Arab states and Israel that Iran’s influence could grow.
The United States and Poland in a joint announcement said that ministers from around the world will be invited to take part in the Feb. 1314 meeting in Warsaw.
Pompeo told Fox News the meeting would “bring together dozens of countries from all around the world, from Asia, from Africa, from Western Hemisphere countries, Europe too, the Middle East of course.”
They will “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence,” the top U.S. diplomat added.
The State Department did not immediately respond when asked which countries would attend.
Its statement said there were strong shared interests in Middle East stability.
“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,” it said.
A State Department spokesman acknowledged that Poland, like other European nations, supports the international accord from which
Trump exited last year on ending the Iranian nuclear program.
The Warsaw meeting “sends an important signal that countries with differing views on the nuclear deal can come together to address other critical issues in the region,” the spokesman said.
Poland, led by a right-wing populist government, is a longstanding U.S. ally that has better relations with Trump than key European powers Germany and France.
Pompeo, in the middle of his eight-day trip through the region, has said the United States is “redoubling” its efforts to put pressure on Iran and sought to convince allies in the region that it was committed to fighting Daesh (ISIS) despite Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, despite the other partners in the deal – including China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom wanting to remain in the agreement.
Trump reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran and in a shift earlier this week, the EU moved to impose some sanctions on Iran. Trump’s hardline stance on Iran has been cheered by regional U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Pompeo kicked off the Gulf portion of his tour after a stop in Cairo, where he delivered a scathing rebuke of former President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies that Obama had outlined in a 2009 address to the Arab and broader Muslim world.
In a speech entitled “A Force for Good: America’s Reinvigorated Role in the Middle East,” Pompeo accused the former president of “misguided” thinking that diminished America’s role in the region while harming its longtime friends and emboldening Iran.
He unloaded on the Obama administration for being naive and timid when confronted with challenges posed by the revolts that convulsed the Middle East, including Egypt, beginning in 2011. And, he said the Trump administration was taking action to repair the damage. – Agencies
Pompeo walks with Vice Adm. James Malloy after a tour of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command center in Manama.