Iran summons Polish diplomat over planned 'anti-Iranian' Warsaw conference

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Poland's Charge d'Affaires Wojciech Unolt on Sunday over an "anti-Iran...

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 2:07 AM
Updated: Jan 14, 2019 2:07 AM

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Poland's Charge d'Affaires Wojciech Unolt on Sunday over an "anti-Iranian conference" that Warsaw is hosting, according to Iranian state media.

Poland and the United States are jointly organizing a global conference in Warsaw on February 13-14 that will focus on Iran's influence in the region, according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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The conference, known as the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, will address "terrorism and extremism, missile development and proliferation, maritime trade and security, and threats posed by proxy groups across the region," according to a statement from the US State Department.

Iran's head of the Eastern Europe First office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the conference as "a hostile move by the United States against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Poland is expected to refrain from co-sponsoring the conference with the US."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif criticized the Polish government on Friday on Twitter, writing: "Those who attended last US anti-Iran show are either dead, disgraced, or marginalized. And Iran is stronger than ever. Polish Govt can't wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts desperate anti-Iran circus."

Pompeo has been on a marathon Middle East tour that has included visits to Cairo, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

It has been described as a reassurance tour by administration officials in the wake of President Donald Trump's sudden announcement of a US troop withdrawal from Syria, and Iran has featured heavily.

In a speech in Cairo, Egypt on January 10, Pompeo outlined the Trump administration's Middle East policy and spoke extensively of the US "campaign to stop Iran's malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world."

Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi on January 12, Pompeo vowed that the US would "use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, though he did not offer specifics on how such an expulsion would take place.

While not condoning Iran's record, Cairo analyst Timothy Kaldas rejects the notion that Iran has a monopoly on evil, while America's allies are all goodness and light. Saudi Arabia, he says, "has also ravaged Yemen, creating what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis where the population struggles with a cholera outbreak and food shortages that are leading to widespread starvation."

Commentator Wael Eskandar bluntly summarized his thoughts on the January 10 speech to CNN, saying: "Today it felt that the US is bent on empowering tyrants in pursuit of its animosity towards Iran, no matter what the cost. Sadly, the cost we pay here is US sanctioned injustice and loss of our freedom."

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