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Tehran protests to Poland over hosting of 'anti-Iran' summit

Polish diplomat summoned to foreign ministry over Warsaw summit which US says aims to build 'global coalition' against Iranian influence
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticised Poland on for hosting the summit, describing it as an 'anti-Iran circus' (Anadolu Agency)

Iran's foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat to protest Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the United States focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the summit, to be held in Warsaw on 13-14 February, would focus on stability and security in the Middle East, including on the "important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence".

Pompeo told Fox News that dozens of countries would attend the summit which would aim to "build out the global coalition" opposed to Iranian policies in the region.

Poland's charge d'affaires was summoned to "protest the anti-Iranian so-called peace and security conference", said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on his Telegram channel.

Ghasemi added that he was told "Poland is expected to refrain from going along with the US in holding this conference". 

Poland's charge d'affaires was also told that Iran saw the decision to host the meeting as a "hostile act against Iran" and was warned that Tehran could reciprocate, IRNA added.

"Poland's charge d'affaires provided explanations about the conference and said it was not anti-Iran," the agency added.

The Polish foreign ministry could not be reached for comment, Reuters news agency said.

Relations between Tehran and Washington are highly fraught following US President Donald Trump's decision in May to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and to reimpose sanctions, including on Iran's vital oil sector.

'Protect the honour of Iran'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticised Poland on Friday for hosting the meeting and wrote on Twitter: "Polish government can't wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in World War II, it now hosts desperate anti-Iran circus."

Zarif was referring to Iran hosting more that 100,000 Polish refugees during the Second World War.

Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said the summit was being held because US sanctions had failed to bring Iran to its knees.

"Americans thought pressures would break down our economy," the semi-official news agency Fars quoted Jahangiri as saying.

"They wanted to bring our oil exports to zero but failed... Now they've decided to hold an anti-Iran conference in Europe."

Meanwhile, a cultural official said a planned Polish Film Week in Iran would be cancelled if the summit plans are not dropped.

"Iranians have hosted various nations and ethnic groups with open arms, especially the Poles," Hossein Entezami, head of the Cinema Organisation of Iran, said on Twitter.

"In order to protect the honour of Iran and Iranians, the holding of the Polish Film Week will depend on Warsaw's appropriate behaviour."