U.S. Co-hosts Warsaw Conference, Pressures Europe on Iran

February 19, 2019

On February 13-14, the United States co-hosted a conference in Warsaw, Poland on peace and security in the Middle East. Foreign ministers from more than 60 countries in Europe and the Middle East participated. Iran was a major topic. In a keynote address, Vice President Mike Pence said, “As Iran’s economy continues to plummet, as the people of Iran take to the streets, freedom-loving nations must stand together to hold the Iranian regime accountable for the evil and violence it’s inflicted on its people, on the region, and the wider world.”

Warsaw
Pence (far left) and Pompeo (right) with foreign representatives

The event reflected sharp differences between the Trump administration and traditional U.S. allies on the Iran nuclear deal. “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve,” Pence said. He also criticized European countries for establishing a mechanism for trading with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions.  

European leaders pushed back against Pence’s demands. E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini opted not to attend the Warsaw summit and instead attended a NATO defense ministers meeting. “The implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of European security - to avoid that Iran can develop a nuclear weapon, and we see it is working. For us it is a matter of priority to keep implementing it at full,” she said in Brussels. A day later at the Munich Security Conference, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, “The Americans want Europe to champion their interests. But the interests of the E.U. Member States are not always identical to those of the U.S. That is why Europe needs to assert its interests with the greatest possible unity.” In Munich, she asked, “The only question that stands between us on this issue is, do we help our common cause, our common aim of containing the damaging or difficult development of Iran, by withdrawing from the one remaining agreement? Or do we help it more by keeping the small anchor we have in order maybe to exert pressure in other areas?”

In Munich, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif encouraged European leaders to resist U.S. pressure. “If the United States were to come, in the course of their fight with China, and tell Europe to stop dealing with China, what would you do? Whatever you want to do then, do now, in order to prevent that eventuality.” The following are excerpted remarks by world leaders.

 

Vice President Mike Pence

“And the winds of change can already be felt across the Middle East.  Israel’s prime minister openly visits Oman.  Just last week, Pope Francis visited the United Arab Emirates.  Longstanding enemies are becoming partners.  Old foes are finding new ground for cooperation.  And the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in common cause as never before.  This historic conference is a testament to the truth that a new era has begun.”

“But sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative.  In fact, they’ve led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions.

“Just two weeks ago, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of a special financing mechanism designed to oversee a mirror-image transaction that would replace sanctionable international payments between EU businesses and Iran.

“They call this scheme a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle.’  We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.  It’s an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU, and create still more distance between Europe and the United States.

“Some argue that Iran is in technical compliance with the narrow terms of the deal.  But compliance is not the issue; the deal is the issue.

“Today, America’s economic sanctions on Iran are the toughest in history and will get tougher still unless and until Iran changes its dangerous and destabilizing behavior.  As President Trump has said, “There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction.  Let it end now.”

“The time has come for our European partners to stand with us and the Iranian people; to stand with our allies and friends in the region.  The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve.

“We must not let this opportunity slip from our hands.  In June 2009, after the Iranian regime stole an election to maintain its grip on power, the previous administration refused to raise its voice when the Iranian people took to the streets in what came to be known as the “Green Movement.”  It wasn’t until the Congress acted that the United States declared its support for the Iranian people.

“As a member of Congress, it was my privilege to introduce a bipartisan resolution that passed overwhelmingly that showed the support of the American people, and only then did our administration follow.  But soon, the ayatollahs and their henchmen used the cover of the world’s timidity to murder, imprison, and terrify freedom-loving Iranians.

“The world missed an opportunity last time to confront the regime, but not this time.  This time, all of us must stand strong.  As Iran’s economy continues to plummet, as the people of Iran take to the streets, freedom-loving nations must stand together to hold the Iranian regime accountable for the evil and violence it’s inflicted on its people, on the region, and the wider world.”

—Feb. 14, 2019 in remarks at the Warsaw Ministerial Working Luncheon

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

QUESTION: Sir, and the conference itself, is it more about seeking peace or building coalition against Iran? This is obviously Prime Minister Netanyahu’s point of view. 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, boy, they’re related. We are building a coalition which is intent on delivering something that the world has been looking for for quite some time: taking down the threat and the risk that’s associated with terrorism in the Middle East. An item of that, an element of that is Iran. They’re conducting terror campaigns in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Iraq, and assassinate people in Europe. 

So Iran is a very real threat, but this ministerial is aimed at a broader objective. It’s to begin the process of addressing the conflicts that have taken place in the Middle East for time immemorial and putting together a coalition that’s determined to take down risk all around the world.

QUESTION: Going back to Iran, sir, Iran warned Poland of consequences if this meeting turns out to be anti-Iranian according to Tehran. Is Poland now after this conference less safe, in your opinion? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: What does that tell the Polish people about the nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that they would threaten a country for having dialogue and conversations and debating and inviting nations from around the world to join together to have discussions about how to keep the Middle East safe? Boy, I think that tells you all you need to know about the Islamic Republic of Iran. No, indeed, I think the Polish people understand: If we don’t take care of the threats – threats in the Middle East, threats that emanate from Iran – the Polish people will then be more at risk, not as a result of this conference. This conference will make the Polish people much more safe.

—Feb. 13, 2019, in an interview with Jan Mikruta of Polsat
 

QUESTION: So we are told that a number of key Middle Eastern and European officials decided not to attend. There are some countries represented at a lower level. How does that affect your ability to move this forward? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Judy, this event’s been absolutely historic. It’s the first time we’ve put it together. And even tonight it’s the first time in a quarter of a century that you had the prime minister of Israel in the same room talking about threats in the Middle East with senior Arab leaders from all across the Middle East. It was truly remarkable. It was historic. Seventy-plus countries gathered together, all sharing ideas. We come from different backgrounds. We come from different places. We see these risks differently. But tonight, I think we began a conversation which will lead to really good outcomes all across the Middle East. 

QUESTION: You mentioned the prime minister of Israel, Mr. Netanyahu. He just a short time ago was quoted as saying, tweeting that the countries were there to discuss their “common interest of war with Iran.” They later changed the wording to say “common interest of combating Iran,” but is that the focus? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, it may not surprise you, Judy, I was out with American soldiers on freedom’s frontier today. I didn’t have a chance to spend a lot of time on Twitter, so I haven’t seen those remarks. 

No, this gathering is certainly about Middle East peace and stability. You can’t talk about that without talking about the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran, whether it’s Hizballah, Hamas, the Houthis – I call them the three H’s – whether it’s their work against the Iraqi government, trying to harm the independence and sovereignty of Iraq, whether it’s what they’re doing in Syria today. 

There are shared interests there between the Saudis, between the Emiratis, between the Bahrainis, the Jordanians, the Israelis all understand that their nations are at risk from Iran, and the Europeans heard tonight as well their nations are at risk as well. Iran is conducting an assassination campaign throughout Europe. This is a global phenomenon. The threat from Middle East instability is real, and you can’t possibly talk about it without talking about the enormous influence that Iran has had in the Middle East, none of which has been for good. 

QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, we know you’ve appealed directly to the people of Iran, but a question that’s been raised is how can you expect them to support this when many of them wanted that nuclear agreement to go forward, many of them just don’t want to be seen as supporting the U.S. right now. How – is that a tack that you think you can count on? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Judy, we don’t expect the Iranian people to support the U.S. We expect them to take care of their own country. We hear from Iranians all the time at the United States State Department. They are wholly dissatisfied with the conditions that are inside of their country. They watch the kleptocracy that is the clerical regime there. They watch it squander money around the world. They watch it get their brothers and sisters killed in wars all across the region. And for what? For the IRGC, for Qasem Soleimani, not for the benefit of the Iranian people. 

So what we want the Iranian people to do is not support Europe or support the United States or anyone else. We want the Iranian people to have the opportunity to live in a prosperous, peaceful society and one that is controlled by their desires, their wishes. And if we can get that, I am very confident that these behaviors that we see in Iran will change dramatically.

—Feb. 13, 2019, in an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour

 

QUESTION: You said one focus of this conference is Iran. The U.S. has been applying a lot of pressure to Iran, withdrawing from the nuclear deal last year, also re-imposing sanctions. Have you seen any sign that this pressure is pushing Iran to negotiate with the U.S.? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: What we’ve seen is that our effort to get Iran to behave like a normal country – to stop supporting the Houthis, to stop supporting Hamas, to stop supporting Hizballah, to stop supporting the Iraqi militias, the Shia militias in Iraq, their efforts in Syria – all of these things are destabilizing in the Middle East. That’s why we’ve gathered 60 countries-plus here today for a discussion about this. Their behavior hasn’t changed materially. They’re weaker. Their economy is a wreck. The Iranian people are very frustrated. Forty years on, forty years after the revolution, things are much worse for the Iranian people, and we’re convinced that will lead the Iranian people to rise up and change the behavior of the regime. 

QUESTION: So that’s what you’re hoping, that these sanctions are going to help push the Iranian people to rise up against the regime and overthrow it? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: The sanctions are designed to deny the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani and his mischief makers who are killing people in Europe, conducting assassination campaigns in Europe – it’s to deny them the wealth and resources they need to continue to create havoc throughout the Middle East and, frankly, throughout the world. 

Hizballah still receives funding from Iran, is operating in Venezuela today. And this is a global problem. That’s why we’ve convened a global ministerial. We have countries from – every country save for Antarctica coming here together to figure out how to get Middle East stability, and pushing against Iran is one component of creating that stability in the Middle East that the world so desperately needs.

QUESTION: You have said bringing prisoners back – you have said bringing American prisoners back from Iran, securing their release, is a top priority for you. When I was in prison there were reports that the U.S. Government handed Iranian officials a letter calling for my release and the release of other prisoners in Iran. Does the U.S. now have any direct channel of communication with Iran over the issue of American prisoners there? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: This administration has delivered unequal efforts – unequaled, unparalleled efforts – to free every American held anywhere in the world. That certainly includes the more than half-dozen folks who are today held in prisons like Evin, the place that you were held. I think about this every day. It weighs on my mind, whether they’re held in Iran or the Americans held in Syria or those held in Afghanistan. We think about them. We work on them. We’ve now had the glory of bring home three from North Korea. We brought back Mr. Holt from Venezuela. I was in the Oval Office when Pastor Brunson returned to the United States from Turkey. The American people should know that this administration is determined to bring back each and every one of them. And as for Iran, they have – make no mistake, they know exactly what our demands are. 

QUESTION: To free the American prisoners who are there? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, they know exactly what we’re asking for. We want them back. 

QUESTION: In return for? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: We want them back. In return for America beginning to consider whether they can eventually return to the community of nations. Look, I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen where people wrote big checks to get folks back. It only encourages other Americans like yourself to be held hostage. It creates an incentive for hostage-taking. That’s not how President Trump and this administration behave. Each of the detainees we’ve returned to date has come back because we have demanded it and we’ve made the case for why it was in that country’s best interest to do so. Rest assured that we’ve done that with Iran as well. We’ve made clear that it’s in their best interest to return these Americans to their families back here in the United States. 

QUESTION: Without a payment and without a prisoner swap? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: The same way we’ve gotten everyone back so far.

—Feb. 13, 2019, in an interview with Roxana Saberi of CBS News

 

First, there was not a defender of Iran in the room. No country, no country spoke out and denied any of the basic facts that we all had laid out about Iran – the threat it poses, the nature of the regime. It was unanimous. Countries from Europe, countries from Asia, countries from all across the world – no one spoke up saying that the data set about the threat that Iran poses in the Middle East is any way wrong or overhyped. Everyone acknowledges that it is very difficult to talk about the problems in Lebanon without talking about Hizballah, that it is very difficult to talk about the problems in Yemen without talking about the Houthis, it’s very difficult to talk about challenges to Iraqi sovereignty without talking about the Shia militias, it’s very difficult to talk about the challenges today in Syria without talking about the Qods Force infantry that’s still there. Every one of those is underwritten and supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and there was no dispute as to that.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in a joint press conference with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz

 

QUESTION: And what do you think about Palestinians boycotting the conference? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: I regret it. I wish they had been here to be part of the conversation. There were many different voices here. There was lots of places where countries disagreed, and they voiced those concerns. I think we each learned from them, and it was cumulative, additive. It was better because there were different voices. I regret that the Palestinians rejected the invitation that was extended to them. I wish they had come here. I think the Palestinian people are a little worse off because their leaders chose not to participate.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on Lebanon. Lebanon has a new government that decided to boycott the Warsaw conference. How do you assess that? And Hizballah is more powerful now in Beirut. 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yep, Hizballah is definitely more powerful than they were four or five years ago. I think that’s a true statement, and I regret that. In the same way, I regret that the Lebanese leadership didn’t come here today to express their views, their objectives. We want good things for the country of Lebanon. We want it to be unified and we want Iran out. And the fact that they are in Lebanon under the guise of Hizballah is plain to the world. It was plain for all 60-plus countries here to see today. We talked a great deal in one of the subgroups about how we would contain Hizballah illicit finance and push back against their money laundering, some of which takes place through Lebanese financial institutions. We are partners with Lebanon to achieve a good outcome for the people of Lebanon.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in an interview with Michael Ghandour of Al Hurra

 

QUESTION: About those conditions, the preconditions and the changing of behavior which has been mentioned numerous times by you and other figures in the administration, the thing is that the behavior that you have in mind is so integral with the identity of the Islamic Republic that changing them will basically be a sort of a regime change. I mean, if Iran would just abandon every single behavior that it has got throughout the Middle East, throughout the world, towards the people of Iran, then nothing is left of the Islamic Republic. 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Ultimately, the how – how these behaviors will be changed – will be dealt with by the Iranian people. They’ll make their voices heard. They’ll assert their power. These are smart people, capable people, with a deep and rich history. They are entirely capable of managing the affairs of their nation. And so these behavioral changes that we are seeking are aimed at creating security throughout the Middle East and creating better lives for the Iranian people, and we are doing everything we can to support those Iranian voices inside of their country so that they can get a life that is the one that they want and one that doesn’t pose a threat and a risk to people throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. 

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you’re aware that on Wednesday, a deadly attack happened in Iran against a bus which belonged to IRGC, killing 27 people. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, wrote in a tweet, and I quote, that, “Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that,” quote/unquote, “Warsaw Circus begins?” Your reaction to that? 

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, well, the Americans had nothing to do with this at all. I’ll say this: Many countries, including European countries, meet with this man Zarif. He is actually headed to Munich, where many European countries will meet with him. I would ask those countries when they meet with Mr. Zarif to ask him why he would say such an outrageous thing. Sometimes he is posited to be a moderate. It’s not moderate to accuse the Israelis and the Americans of murder. That’s not moderate. I think it shows the signs that Mr. Zarif and Mr. Rouhani are revolutionaries in the same way that the other leaders inside of Iran are as well.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in an interview with Niusha Boghrati of Radio Farda

 

E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini 

QUESTION: You will meet Mike Pompeo tomorrow. What about your different views on Iran? Do you think you would be able to reconcile them eventually?

MOGHERINI: We have different views on the implementation of the nuclear deal [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] with Iran but we have views that on other issues coincide. I still believe that we have the same views on Syria and the need for a political solution to the war. I think we have similar views on the missile program of Iran and on the need to move forward for peace in Yemen.

Again, it is not for me to express the US positions; it is clear what the European Union positions are. We see convergence on many of them, some differences on some others that we tackle in a very pragmatic and calm manner. Wherever we have fields of common interest and common action we work together and on other fields where views diverge, the Europeans follow their European priorities.

For us, the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is a matter of European security - to avoid that Iran can develop a nuclear weapon, and we see it is working. For us it is a matter of priority to keep implementing it at full.

On other issues we can work very closely together with the United States.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in remarks to the press at the NATO Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels

 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

QUESTION: Does the US want to divide Europe?

MAAS: The Americans want Europe to champion their interests. But the interests of the EU Member States are not always identical to those of the US. That is why Europe needs to assert its interests with the greatest possible unity.

QUESTION: Are Europeans able to do so?

MAAS: Yes. Europeans reacted unanimously with countermeasures to the punitive tariffs imposed by the US on aluminium and steel. And they all support the preservation of the agreement with Iran. Naturally, it is often difficult to speak with one voice when 28 countries are involved. But these examples show that Europeans understand this is the only way we can make our voice heard.

—Feb. 16, 2019, in an interview with RND

“Along with the UK, France and the entire EU, we have found ways to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement so far. Our aim is and will remain an Iran without nuclear weapons – especially because we see clearly how Iran is destabilising the region. That is why we want to, and will, preserve the nuclear agreement. Without the JCPOA – that much is clear – the region would not be any bit safer, but rather a step closer to an overt confrontation, with all the consequences this would have for the security situation in Europe.”

—Feb. 15, 2019, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference

 

French Foreign Ministry Spokesperson

SPOKESPERSON: France is committed to the implementation of the JCPoA, in respect of international agreements and international security. It will continue to support the JCPoA, which was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231 (2015), as long as Iran abides by all of its nuclear obligations.

France and its E3 partners (Germany and the United Kingdom) support an approach that includes the long-term management of the Iranian nuclear program, as well as the limitation of its missile program and destabilizing regional activities. On February 4, all of the EU member states asserted the need for a comprehensive, balanced approach toward Iran.

The work we have carried out with our European partners, especially Germany and the United Kingdom, on the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is aimed at facilitating legal commercial transactions with Iran in line with EU law and UN Security Resolution 2231 (2015).

—Feb. 15, in the MFA’s daily press conference

 

 

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz

The European Union and the United States share the conviction about the role of Iran could and should play in the Middle East and in the wider world, but we are concerned about possible results of Iran’s nuclear program as well as the unconstructive role of the country in the region. We univocally condemn intolerable actions of Iran beyond its own territory, including Europe, which met with additional EU sanctions.

The differences between us may be about methods. The European Union believes that maintaining the peaceful character of the Iranian nuclear program calls for keeping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, in place. The United States abandoned this agreement and imposed sanctions. But in our opinion, in the opinion of Poland, it is only through joint actions in the framework of trans-Atlantic community or, more broadly, the global community of democratic states that we can effectively limit negative trends in the Middle East.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in remarks at the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East

The address of Vice President of the United States Mr. Mike Pence and the ensuing discussion showed that the European Union and the United States share the same diagnosis of the situation. They have a similar perspective of problems in the Middle East, and also – let’s be open – the negative role played by Iran. Iran was not the main topic of our deliberations, but looking at various horizontal problems, the role of this country was also mentioned. This is also the position of European Union; Poland is a member state of European Union and subscribes to this point of view. However, the European Union and the United States differ in terms of modus operandi, especially via evaluation of JCPOA or Special Purpose Vehicle and their possible impacts. In the course of discussion, representatives of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom indicated the positive role played by this deal.

Mr. Minister, I would only like to add that the policy towards Iran, policy on Iran, is often subjected to discussion on the forum of foreign ministers of the European Union. As I was noting during my opening remarks, there is a conviction where the JCPOA in the long run plays a positive role. However, as Poland, we can see with our own eyes that the problem of Middle East is so complex that the European Union alone singlehanded has not enough of political force to help to resolve it. Only through transatlantic relations – alliance with the United States, Canada, the democratic world – will help us. If we stand together and act in a united manner, we can come closer to resolving security problems in the Middle East.

From the EU perspective, such instruments as special purpose vehicle, the mechanism which allows to preserve in certain areas some commerce and trade with Iran, well, it may play a positive role. But it is of symbolic value because most of companies, while confronted with real risk of sanctions from the United States, they decided to opt out and to withdraw from Iran. If this is an instrument of humanitarian relief, humanitarian aid, because it is only limited to trade in pharmaceuticals and agricultural produce, it may be a positive instrument. So here this difference from our perspective is a subtle difference, and it is a basis for future joint cooperation and joint policy.

That’s why we decided to have this conference in Warsaw, even if Poland is together with other European countries like-minded in their assessment of JCPOA. Nevertheless, cooperation amongst us all will be very much needed in the future. We’ll need to follow closely the developments in Iran and try to foster democracy.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon. Wojciech Cegielski, Polish Radio. Minister Czaputowicz, the following question to you: Just before the conference, you were saying that the conference is not targeting any country, Iran or any other country. However, from today’s declaration, the closing declaration, while we cannot see any reference to any specific country, but listening the media statements of Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, or Prime Minister Netanyahu, many very sharp words of criticism were uttered towards Iran that were broadcast. So would you maintain your view that this conference was not against any particular country, and how would you comment the statements that were already made by the American partners that Iran is the largest sponsor of terror in the world?

FOREIGN MINISTER CZAPUTOWICZ: (Via interpreter) If I may, in my opening remarks I hinted the subject. The conference and its main topic have been devised in such a way so as to focus on horizontal issues like humanitarian aid, terror, proliferation of weapons. Of course, in many contexts we have seen Iran as one of actors, and honestly it was presented in a bad light not only by the United States – and this is quite curious and interesting. I may have not expected this before, but the states of the region were quite unanimous saying that Iran is the destabilizing factor in the region. If we want to concentrate on problems and not states, it doesn’t preclude us from noting the threats as they stand.

An important part of the discussion is a discussion on the Middle East process. This was just an initial discussion. In a few months’ time, the United States and Mr. Jared Kushner himself with come up with certain suggestions. We can see also certain joined and shared perceptions from some Arab states and the state of Israel. I think that we should take a holistic perspective of the Middle East and its problems. If we speak about Yemen and Syria, of course, Iran – Iran’s impacts are very negative. We promise not to be focusing on difficult problems in Iran, but this is not to say that Iran will be excluded from the spectrum of our discussion. Of course, it was not invited for this conference due to their stance, their attitude, but we do hope that there will be a change of conducts and that there will be a way for discussion. Thank you.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

In a room of some 60 foreign ministers and representatives of dozens of governments, an Israeli prime minister and the foreign ministers of the leading Arab countries stood together and spoke with unusual force, clarity, and unity against the common threat of the Iranian regime. I think this marks a change, an important understanding of what threatens our future, what we have to do to secure it, and the possibilities of cooperation that extend beyond security to every realm of life for the peoples of the Middle East.

—Feb. 14, 2019, in remarks to the press before a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Warsaw

 

Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa

“When we come to Israel-Palestine, we had the Camp David agreement [between Israel and Egypt in 1978]. There was [the 1991] Madrid [Conference]. There were many other ways of solving it, and had we stayed on the same path, and if it wasn’t for the … guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic, I think we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel. But this is a serious challenge that is preventing us now from moving forward anywhere, be it Syria, be it Yemen, be it Iraq, be it anywhere.”

—Feb. 14, 2019, in a leaked video from the Warsaw Ministerial Conference

 

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan

"The UAE is working side by side with the US and its partners in the region to address the besetting challenges and ensure a more secure, peaceful and stable future in the Middle East."

"There is a growing need for a collective action to stop the proliferation of ballistic missiles, counter terrorism, face up to all those who tend to wage war by proxy and adopt violence, and put an end to cyber piracy.”

—Feb. 14, 2019, in a speech at the Warsaw Ministerial Conference

 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

“Many around the world, particularly on this continent, speak eloquently about multilateralism, but they also need to walk the walk. INSTEX falls short of the commitments by [European countries] to save the nuclear deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against a dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism.”

“If the United States were to come, in the course of their fight with China, and tell Europe to stop dealing with China, what would you do? Whatever you want to do then, do now, in order to prevent that eventuality.”

“Nothing can be done that is better than this [nuclear] deal. It’s not all we want and it’s certainly not all the United States wants but it’s the best that can be achieved.”

“The U.S. claims ... that it is Iran which is interfering in the region, but has it ever been asked whose region? Just glimpse at a map for a second — the U.S. military has traveled 10,000 kilometers to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran’s fault that it put itself in the middle of all (the) U.S. bases.”

—Feb. 17, 2019, in a speech at the Munich Security Conference

 

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State