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U.S. Officials Say Mideast Conference In Warsaw Not Against Iran


A U.S. official told journalists that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would certainly discuss Washington's concerns regarding "Iran's destructive policies" in the Middle East. (file photo)

Senior U.S. officials say an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw next month will not have an anti-Iran agenda.

"This is not an anti-Iran meeting or coalition-building exercise," a senior U.S. administration official told a January 28 telephone briefing with journalists.

The February 13-14 Ministerial to Promote Peace and Stability in the Middle East will include sessions on the situations in Syria and Yemen, missile development, terrorism and illicit finance, and cybersecurity, U.S. and Polish officials have said.

The U.S. official briefing journalists said the ministerial has been focused from the start on "exploring a range of issues important to the region’s security and prosperity."

He added that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will certainly discuss U.S. concerns regarding "Iran's destructive policies in the region" at the meeting while adding that it was "difficult to speak about the region’s challenges without referencing Iran."

U.S. envoy to the UN Jonathan Cohen said on January 22 that the Warsaw ministerial was not aimed at demonizing or attacking Iran.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said last week that Iran wasn't invited to the event.

Yet, U.S. officials briefing journalists on January 28 declined to comment on whether Iran had received an invitation since then and whether Israel would attend the meeting.

The senior officials said they were "very pleased" with the responses they had been receiving without offering more details.

A senior Polish official speaking at the briefing expressed regret over Russia's decision not to attend the meeting while expressing hope that the decision was "reversible."

Iran has called the conference an "anti-Iran U.S. circus," while warning that Tehran could resort to unspecified "counteraction" toward Poland.

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