‘Defaming Iran which has been hosting Afghans for four decades unacceptable’

June 15, 2020 - 19:12

TEHRAN - As a country which has been warmly hosting millions of Afghan immigrants for four decades, propaganda campaign against Iran is not acceptable, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.

“We have always wanted stability and peace in Afghanistan. However, it does not mean the Islamic Republic would close eyes on illegal actions. When border and customs are formed, it means that all must respect, but a number of people deceived by traffickers or for any other reasons enter the country illegally and the Islamic Republic of Iran does not permit it,” he said during a press conference.

He noted, “Iran has good relations with its neighbors and seeks to expand ties at all levels.”

Certain groups have recently attacked the Iranian embassy in Kabul under the pretext that some Afghan migrants were drowned while they were trying to enter Iran illegally.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned Afghan Ambassador Abdolghafour Lival over actions of certain anti-Iran groups in Afghanistan.

Certain groups have a record of opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the good neighborliness, the Foreign Ministry said.

Rasoul Mousavi, an assistant to Iran’s foreign minister and the director-general of the Foreign Ministry Department for West Asia, expressed concerns over effects of these groups’ actions on relations between the two countries.

Afghan media outlets have claimed that about 50 Afghan migrants had been beaten and thrown into a river in the border. Iranian political and border officials have refuted the claim, saying the incident happened on the Afghan side of the Harirud River.

According to some reports, 18 of the migrants, including a 12-year old boy, were drowned in the river.

Iran and Afghanistan have launched an inquiry into the tragedy.

Iran has said it has extensive evidence that the incident has not happened on its borders. 

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, the confirmed reports received from Iranian border guards show that such an incident has not occurred on the mentioned date and location cited by Afghan media. 

He added that due to weather conditions of the region, not a single Afghan citizen entered the Iranian territory on that date.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharvand has blamed illegal traffic of Afghan migrants for the human tragedy.

Iranian diplomats and border guards have carried out investigations which show the Iranian guards were not involved in the drowning incident, Baharvand added.

“Our investigation does not show that incident in Harirud was caused by interference of the Iranian border guards. However, we considered evidence of the Afghan side important and gave it to the related bodies,” Baharvand told IRNA in an interview published on June 7.

He said, “Due to Afghan armed forces’ fight against terrorism, Afghanistan has dismantled its border stations and this has caused lack of control over borders by Afghanistan. This issue has led to problems caused by human traffickers.”

Baharvand also said that Iran and Afghanistan will form a joint border committee.

Iranian and Afghan political delegations held their last round of talks on the incident in Kabul on May 26. 

Also, on June 3 a number of Afghan migrants were killed in a car accident in Yazd province. 

Following the incident, Afghan Ambassador Lival held a meeting with officials of the province. Ambassador said, “We believe that human traffickers and the driver are responsible for the incident.”

According to Lival, the driver has been identified and judicial authorities are striving to arrest him.

‘U.S. presence causes regional insecurity’

Mousavi also said that Iran is not concerned about the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan and noted that the U.S. presence causes regional insecurity.

“We have never been concerned about the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries in the region. We insist their [U.S. forces] presence cause war in the region,” Mousavi pointed out.


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