|‘Iran ready to assist U.S. in face-saving withdrawal from Afghanistan’||
TEHRAN – Hossein Sheikholeslam, the parliament speaker’s advisor on international issues, has said that Iran is ready to assist the United States in the ‘face-saving’ withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.
“We can assist in the face-saving and low-cost withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan,” Sheikholeslam said in an interview with the Persian service of the Fars News Agency published on Tuesday.
The United States has planned to withdraw its combats troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“If the Americans want to completely leave Afghanistan and their only excuse is that if they leave the country, Iran will spread its influence, we assure them that such a thing will not happen,” Sheikholeslam said.
“We do not want other nations to pay the price for competition and hostility between the Islamic Republic and the United States. As we held negotiations with the Americans in Iraq with the participation of the Iraqis, we are ready to follow the same process in relation to Afghanistan,” he added.
Commenting on the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, Sheikholeslam said, “Unfortunately, the security pact between the United States and Afghanistan is silent about the U.S. bases on the country’s soil and in a way has accepted it.”
“The fact that there are U.S. bases in Afghanistan is unacceptable to Iran,” he added.
The U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, officially entitled Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America, is an agreement between Afghanistan and the U.S. which provides the long-term framework for the relationship between the two countries after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The Strategic Partnership Agreement went into effect on July 4, 2012.
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