Iranian government is banned from the Munich Security Conference for the second year in a row as Tehran’s relation with the West reaches a breaking point.
Christoph Heusgen, head of the conference, said, "In the case of Iran, we are hearing from the German government and also from the Americans that there is no interest in talks. As things stand at the moment, we are only inviting Iranians from non-governmental organizations."
In addition to Iran, Russia and the German far-right party AFD have also not received invitations. Heusgen expressed skepticism regarding the prospect of meaningful dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, opting instead to invite exiled politicians and representatives from non-governmental organizations.
The Munich Security Conference held an event with Iran Foreign Ministry thank-tank (IPIS) in October 2015 in Tehran, the same group that hosted a global Holocaust denial summit in 2006. Among those on the guest list, according to an invitation list seen by Iran International, was Qasem Soleimani, the slain commander of IRGC’s extraterritorial Quds Force. The MSC did not respond to Iran International’s requests for comment about co-hosting the event with the IPIS and the invitation of Soleimani to the conference.
Approximately 50 heads of state and government, along with around 100 ministers, are expected to attend this year's conference which is taking place from February 16 to 18.
The conference is globally renowned as one of the leading events to bring security policymakers together to discuss present and impending challenges. It comes at a time when Iran's proxy militias are causing havoc around the Middle East and major disruptions to global trade and shipping.
The decision to exclude Iran and Russia last year came amid ongoing global concerns. Iran's participation was halted following 2022 protests that saw hundreds killed, including numerous children, and thousands detained in connection to demonstrations. Similarly, Russia's exclusion was tied to its continued aggression against Ukraine.