Iran, Afghanistan sign document for comprehensive cooperation

June 22, 2020 - 9:22

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister, in Tehran on Sunday during which they signed a document for comprehensive cooperation.

Atmar visited Tehran at the head of a high-ranking political, economic and security delegation on Sunday.

According to IRNA, Zarif and Atmar discussed the latest developments in relations and also political, economic, security, cultural cooperation and issues related to Afghan refugees.

The two sides agreed that the document for comprehensive cooperation be finalized in three months.


‘Comprehensive cooperation to help expand ties’

In a separate meeting with Atmar, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said that the signing of the comprehensive cooperation helps expand ties between the two neighboring countries.

He also said that the document will mark a fundamental development in relations and will also activate capacities to expand relations.

Shamkhani also said that the Iranians have hosted Afghan refugees for 40 years and will continue supporting them.

The top security official said that the United States has targeted solidarity between the Iranians and Afghans after its failures in the region.

Atmar praised Iran’s supports for the Afghan refugees and said that Kabul will not allow a third country undermine relations with Tehran.

Atmar’s visit to Tehran came a week after Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Afghan Ambassador Abdolghafour Lival over actions of certain anti-Iran groups in Afghanistan.

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.

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 a joint 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. 

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 incident, Baharvand added.

“Our investigation does not show that the 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.

The deputy foreign minister for international and legal affairs had said on May 27 that Iran and Afghanistan are in agreement on the incident.

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, Ambassador Lival held a meeting with officials of the province. He 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.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has announced it will dispatch a high-level delegation to Tehran to investigate the recent incidents for Afghan citizens.

It said the purpose of the team is to draw up a plan to prevent illegal traffic by focusing on ensuring better border security and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.

The ministry also said the delegation will discuss with Iranian officials the fight against human trafficking on both sides of the border, the beginning of the process of establishing the identity of Afghan citizens and the legalization of immigrant residency, as well as the implementation of the draft law on legal employment of Afghan workers.


NA/PA

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