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Iran protests to Poland over Iran-focused summit

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized Poland for hosting the meeting. Xinhua

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat to protest at Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the United States focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, according to state news agency IRNA.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Friday said the summit – to be held in Warsaw over Feb. 13-14 – would focus on stability and security in the Middle East, including the “important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence”.

An Iranian foreign ministry official told Poland’s charge d’affaires in Tehran that Iran saw the decision to host the meeting as a “hostile act against Iran” and 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 confirmed that the meeting took place on Saturday.

“The international community has the right to discuss various regional and global problems,” it said in a statement on Sunday, adding that Poland has the right to co-host a conference that aims to develop a platform for action for the stability and prosperity of the Middle East.

Speaking in Qatar on Sunday, Pompeo said the aims of the summit will include changing the “beha-viour” of Iran, which Washington accuses of destabilising the region and supporting terrorism. Tehran denies the accusations and says US military presence in the Middle East causes tensions and instability.

“We will gather around a number of different topics … fighting ISIS is part of that … and address how we can get the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a normal nation,” Mr Pompeo told reporters in Doha.

“There will be countries from Asia, Africa and all across the world. It won’t be confined to the US, Europe and the Middle East.”

On Friday Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticised Poland for hosting the meeting and wrote on Twitter: “Polish Govt can’t wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts desperate anti-Iran circus.”

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

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