TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A senior Irish political analyst said European nations’ participation in an anti-Iran conference due to be held by the US in the Polish capital of Warsaw in mid-February could destroy the 28-member bloc’s “political and economic interests”.

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“Such a ‘war summit’ – for that’s what it amounts to – completely destroys European economic and political interests with Iran. It would be like shooting your own vessel below the water line. Germany, for one, has something like $4 billion of annual trade with Iran,” Finian Cunningham told Press Shia.

He added, “Sooner or later, the Europeans must respond to the hegemonic abuse by the US. The US aggression towards Iran is not in Europe’s interests”.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, and Strategic Culture Foundation.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Press Shia: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently that Washington will jointly host a global summit focused on Iran and the Middle East in Warsaw from February 13 to 14. Pompeo said the meeting would "focus on Middle East stability and peace, freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence." What is your take on the move by the US administration?

Cunningham: It looks like the Trump administration is trying to concentrate its hostile policy towards Iran and its efforts for regime change in the Islamic Republic. This is in the context of Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. As Pompeo said in a speech in Cairo last week, this purported troop pullout from Syria is a “tactical change” not an absolute reduction of US militarism in the Middle East. No doubt, the Trump administration is seeking to focus its military efforts more on Iran, by obviating its failed efforts in Syria. Pompeo and Trump’s national security advisor have been intensifying the rhetoric of aggression towards Iran lately. It seems that the US is trying to cohere its hostile forces and clients in the region against Iran.

Press Shia: A group of activists in the United States and other countries have signed a petition calling on European countries to boycott the anti-Iran summit. The online petition urges EU countries to skip Pompeo’s “belligerent conference” and “instead host an alternative one with all nations of the region, including Iran.” What do you think? Do you believe European nations will resist against Washington’s pressure campaign?

Cunningham: The American agenda of hostility towards Iran is one more policy on top of several other policies that have cut across European vital interests. The abandonment of the nuclear accord with Iran; the threat of secondary sanctions against Europeans doing business with Tehran; the threat of sanctions against Europeans over the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia; the unilateral abandonment of the Paris Climate accord; the bullying conduct of the Trump administration over trade and tariffs with the European Union; Trump’s continual insults against the EU and its political leaders; the moves by Washington to rip up the INF nuclear weapons treaty with Moscow which puts Europe at risk of a future war. And so on. Sooner or later, the Europeans must respond to the hegemonic abuse by the US. The US aggression towards Iran is not in Europe’s interests. We cannot predict exactly what the Europeans will do. But sooner or later out of necessity they have to defend their interests against American depredations. The issue with Iran could be one such opportunity for the Europeans to stand up for their interests.

Press Shia: Do you think that it would make sense for Europe to participate in the conference as European countries are still a party to the Iran nuclear agreement?

Cunningham: Absolutely not. Such a “war summit” – for that’s what it amounts to – completely destroys European economic and political interests with Iran. It would be like shooting your own vessel below the water line. Germany, for one, has something like $4 billion of annual trade with Iran. Is Germany going to let that sink just to satisfy America’s unwarranted and self-serving aggression towards Iran?

Press Shia: The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the long-negotiated nuclear agreement and its increased hostility towards Iran that have added to the instability of the region and are threatening to unleash another devastating war in the Middle East. Do you believe so?

Cunningham: We may hope not. But the incendiary and belligerent nature of the US ruling class is always a threat against peace. Trump’s reckless aggression towards Iran is truly criminal in its gratuitous and flagrant incitement against peace and for war. It is tantamount to throwing matches around in a gas depot. The Trump administration’s obsession with Iran as demonstrated by the psychotic personalities of Pompeo and Bolton could embolden client regimes like Israel and Saudi Arabia to do something provocative against Iran. We may hope war does not happen. But the danger has probably never been greater than under this current American regime.