Talks with Taliban need to be coordinated with Kabul: Shamkhani

June 19, 2019

TEHRAN – Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, has underlined the need for continuation of talks with the Taliban in coordination with the Afghan government to prevent interference by trans-regional states.

Shamkhani made the remarks in a joint meeting with the high-ranking security officials from Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan on the sidelines of the security conference in the Russian city of Ufa on Tuesday.

The top security official also presented Tehran’s proposals on the level, time, agenda and mechanisms for the effective activities of neighbors in the Afghan national reconciliation process.

“It is necessary for Afghanistan's neighbors to increase contacts and relations with Afghan dissidents in coordination with the legal government in Afghanistan to narrow down the possibility for interference by the trans-regional states in the country's crisis,” Shamkhani said, Fars reported.

‘No reason for war between Iran and U.S.’

Speaking to IRNA in Ufa on Wednesday, Shamkhani also said Iran and the U.S. will not engage in a military conflict, even as the Trump administration appeared to escalate tensions with Tehran two days earlier by announcing the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East.

“There will not be a military confrontation between Iran and America since there is no reason for a war,” said Shamkhani.

“Accusing other countries has turned into a common practice by American officials as they try to pressure other counties,” the security official remarked.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior Trump administration officials have accused Iran of perpetrating attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, though Tehran has denied responsibility for the explosions which partly destroyed the vessels.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami insisted on Wednesday that Tehran was not behind the tanker assaults, declaring that “the accusation against Iran is a sheer lie and I dismiss it firmly.”

Trump sought to downplay the possibility of a full-scale confrontation with Iran in an interview on Monday with Time magazine.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that Patrick Shanahan would be withdrawing from consideration to become permanent defense secretary and would be stepping down as acting Pentagon chief — further contributing to instability within the administration at a tumultuous moment in the relationship between Washington and Tehran.

SP/PA

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