Polish President Duda’s phone call with the Irani President Ebrahim Raisi last Wednesday caused a storm of indignation from liberal politicians and media. According to leading liberal daily “Gazeta Wyborcza,” Poland isn’t a player in the Middle East and has no leverage over Iran.
“There is this absurd notion that we are a province that should keep quiet,” said Jakub Kumoch, chief of staff to President Andrzej Duda in response. “We refuse to do that. During the conflict in Ukraine, Poland has shown that it can be a force on the regional and world stage,” he added.
The former foreign minister in the last liberal government, Radosław Sikorski, picked up on the fact that the official webpage of the Iranian presidency quoted President Duda as having observed that Iran had a track record of striving for peace and stability in the world. He said that “at a time when Iranian drones were demolishing Ukraine and domestic repression was mounting in Iran itself, it was totally wrong to praise an Iran terrorist mullah’s peace credentials.” Sikorski also inquired whether Duda had consulted with Poland’s allies about this initiative.
Replying to the criticisms, Jakub Kumoch explained that talks with Raisi had been held at the behest of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He added that the conversation held by the two presidents focused on the issue of Iranian arms being provided to Russia. Kumoch said that the president will talk to anyone who can impact the war in Ukraine.
The president’s chief of staff believes that the criticisms are based on an inferiority complex of those who believe that Poland is unimportant and should just keep quiet. Kumoch totally rejected the notion that Duda is legitimizing regimes such as Iran and pointed to the fact that Germany talks to them too. “Does that mean that Scholz does not legitimize these regimes, but Duda does? Absurdly illogical,” argued Kumoch.