Expert calls Iran-Afghanistan talks a ‘constructive move’

June 28, 2020 - 7:18

TEHRAN - Nozar Shafiei, an expert on international affairs, has said that the recent talks between Iranian and Afghan officials marked a “constructive move” which “softened the atmosphere” in relations.

“We have to consider the fact that there are both opportunities and challenges in relations. Sometimes the challenges can lead to clashes between two countries, however, it is important for both sides to have wisdom and move towards solving challenges,” Shafiei told ISNA in an interview published on Saturday.

He also noted that Iran has hosted Afghan immigrants for 40 years and has provided them with education and job.

“Unfortunately, a commotion started against Iran despite all the services the country provided for the Afghan immigrants,” the expert on international affairs said.

Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister, visited Tehran at the head of a high-ranking political, economic and security delegation on June 21-22.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atmar discussed the latest developments in relations. They exchanged views on political, economic, security, cultural cooperation. The two chief diplomats also held talks on issues related to Afghan refugees in Iran.

The two sides agreed on a document for “comprehensive cooperation” which will be finalized in three months.

Zarif and Atmar issued a joint statement agreeing to expand regional cooperation and ensure border security among other issues between the two countries.

 “Considering the significance of regional and international consensus on the establishment of peace and security in Afghanistan, the two sides stressed the need to strengthen the regional and international cooperation and consultations and activate the capacities available in the region with the purpose of facilitating the negotiations and supporting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s establishment,” read part of the statement. 

Another part of the statement also said, “The two sides held detailed discussions about the recent incidents that have caused human fatalities, and the Iranian side informed the Afghan side of progress in investigations, and both sides agreed to adopt measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.”

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), also met with Atmar.

Shamkhani 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 attacked the Iranian embassy in Kabul under the pretext that some Afghan migrants had drowned while trying to enter Iran illegally.

Afghan media outlets claimed that about 50 Afghan migrants had been beaten and thrown into a river in the border. Iranian political and border officials 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.


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