Iran Embassy calls New York Times claims insulting

October 26, 2010

TEHRAN – Iran’s embassy in Afghanistan has issued a statement calling the recent claims by the New York Times “foolish and insulting.”

The New York Times has claimed that one evening last August, as President Hamid Karzai wrapped up an official visit to Iran, his personal plane sat on the airport tarmac, waiting for a passenger: Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
The ambassador, Fada Hussein Maliki, finally appeared, taking a seat next to Umar Daudzai, Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff and his most trusted confidant. According to an Afghan official on the plane, Mr. Maliki handed Mr. Daudzai a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills.
Such rumors are made by some Western media outlets in order to negatively affect the public opinion and damage ties between the two friendly countries, the Iranian embassy stated in its statement.
Cultural and historical affinities between Iran and Afghanistan are that strong that cannot be influenced by some unfounded rumors, the statement added.
On Monday, Karzai dismissed the way the story was covered by the New York Times, saying the Iranian money was used to pay expenses in his office and that he had instructed Mr. Daudzai to accept the money.
The money is given “to help the presidential office and to help dispense assistance in various ways to the employees here and to people outside,” Karzai said.
He added that the United States, just like Iran, gave him cash.
“They do give us bags of money. Yes, yes they do. It’s all the same. So let’s not make this an issue.