Russia slams 'counterproductive' US-Polish conference on Iran

Russia slams 'counterproductive' US-Polish conference on Iran
Russia slammed a planned US-Polish conference on peace and security in the Middle East as "counterproductive" because of its narrow focus on countering Iran.

3 min read
22 January, 2019
Russia slammed the perceived anti-Iran summits in Warsaw as counter-productive [Getty]
A planned US-Polish conference on peace and security in the Middle East was slammed by Russia on Tuesday as "counterproductive" because of its narrow focus on countering Iran.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the conference would fail to bolster Middle East security because of its "one-country aspect" and failure to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Why has that conference not invited Iran, which is one of the most significant and large countries in the region?" asked Nebenzia during a council debate on the situation in the Middle East.

"Attempts to create some kind of military alliances in the region by holding conferences and focussing on having a simplified unilateral approach that is clearly linked just to Iran are counterproductive," Nebenzia said.

Such a move "just further pushes away the prospects of finding a genuine security architecture for the region," he added.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plans for the major conference in Warsaw on February 13 and 14, which is expected to be attended by ministers from a dozen countries.

Iran has reacted angrily to the planned conference and warned Poland that it could face consequences for hosting the gathering.

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

He was told "this is a hostile act by the United States against Iran and Poland is expected to refrain from going along with the US in holding this conference," Ghasemi added. 

The summit was announced last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said dozens of countries would participate. 

They will "focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence," he told Fox News.

Poland's representative in Iran reportedly said the conference, to be held February 13-14 in Warsaw, was not anti-Iranian and that Poland did not share recent remarks by the US against Iran. 

The Iranian official said this was inadequate and Iran would be "forced to retaliate" if Poland did not back down. 

Tehran poured scorn on the meeting and pointed out that Iran, then impoverished after invasion by Britain and the Soviet Union, welcomed more than 100,000 Polish refugees during World War II.

"Polish Govt can't wash the shame: while Iran saved Poles in WWII, it now hosts a desperate anti-Iran circus," Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted earlier this week.

Acting US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen described the Warsaw meeting as a "global brainstorming session" and stressed that it was "not the venue to demonise or attack Iran."

Some of the agenda items for the conference include the humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen, missile development and cyber security, Cohen told the council.

It remains unclear who will attend. 

Agencies contributed to this report.

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