Polish deputy FM in Tehran over conference row

Tehran (AFP) –


Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Maciej Lang met in Tehran on Monday with his Iranian counterpart in an effort to solve a dispute over a conference his country is to host.

Lang described as "constructive" his talks with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi over the jointly organised conference with the United States on peace and security in the Middle East.

"We spoke about a wide range of issues, including misunderstandings about the Warsaw conference, and I presented our point of view on this issue. We had a long discussion and I hope that I did it in a clear way," Lang told AFP in an interview.

"For Poland this conference is not against any country," he said.

The summit had first been announced on January 11 by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said that it "includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence" in the region.

The Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement the reasons provided by the Polish government for co-organising the summit were unacceptable and that the Poles "must be mindful of the consequences".

The Islamic republic would not allow any country in or outside the region "to build coalitions against its interests", the statement said.

Lang expressed hopes that the conference would have a positive impact on relations with Iran.

"We intend to organise an event to discuss problems. Basically the outcome of this conference is to find a process serving stability in the region," he said.

"We believe the outcome will be positive. Why should we suppose that relations with Iran would suffer?"

Iran had reacted angrily to the conference when news of it first broke.

Poland's charge d'affaires was summoned by the Iranian foreign ministry to "protest the anti-Iranian so-called peace and security conference" on January 13.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif poured scorn on the Warsaw summit and pointed out that the country 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," Zarif tweeted on January 11.