Iran expresses deep concern over developments in Afghanistan

August 9, 2021 - 21:50

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has voiced “deep concern” over continued clashes in neighboring Afghanistan as the internecine war between the Afghan government and the Taliban continued to rage on. 

Speaking at his weekly press briefing on Monday, Khatibzadeh said, “Iran is deeply concerned about the developments in Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic of Iran has always considered the security of Afghanistan as its own security and has used all its facilities and capacities to contribute to the peace, stability, and tranquility of Afghanistan at bilateral, regional, and international levels.”

He added, “In this context, we are ready and willing to pursue the Tehran Peace Initiative to form an inclusive government in a genuine intra-Afghan dialogue, including all the groups that exist in Afghanistan today.”

The spokesman also called on Afghanistan’s neighbors to hold regular and structured dialogue in order to coordinate their efforts, manage the humanitarian issue of war-displaced people, prevent the geography of Afghanistan from being exploited by extremist groups, and help end the war, bloodshed, and fratricide.

Khatibzadeh said Iran is ready to facilitate and play host to such a dialogue. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has hosted millions of its own Afghan brothers and sisters for the past four decades and has never had anything but a kinship view of the Afghan people, and this humane view has always existed and will continue, God willing,” he pointed out.

As the conflict in Afghanistan intensified over the past few weeks, Iranian officials have increased their peace efforts regarding Afghanistan. Mohammad Ebrahim Taherian, the Iranian foreign minister's special envoy for Afghanistan affairs, recently had a phone conversation with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar.

In the phone call, the two sides conferred on the latest developments in Afghanistan.

The two sides also discussed the significance of ongoing Afghan peace processes, especially the continuation of intra-Afghan talks in Tehran.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also held talks with UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Jean Arnault, who has traveled to Tehran heading a delegation to exchange views with Iranian Foreign Ministry officials, according to a ministry statement.

In the Sunday meeting, Zarif touched upon the dire situation in Afghanistan and the growing complexity of the circumstances in the country, dismissing foreign powers’ inappropriate policies as one of the root causes of the current situation in Afghanistan.

He expressed Iran’s readiness to help with and facilitate negotiations among Afghan sides in order to advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

Zarif said intra-Afghan talks are the only solution to the problems facing the country.

“The international community should adopt a straightforward stance to support a political settlement of the crisis in Afghanistan and condemn violence and its consequences,” said the Iranian foreign minister.

The UN envoy, in turn, stressed the importance of the role of Iran and other regional countries in helping move forward with the peace trend in Afghanistan.

He said no country or a limited number of countries alone will be able to help calm the current situation in Afghanistan, adding only collective cooperation can defuse the situation in the country.

Arnault emphasized intra-Afghan talks as the only way to tackle the current situation in the country, and described his negotiations in Tehran as fruitful and significant.

Arnault also met with Taherian and exchanged views about the ongoing issues in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry urged the Afghans to sue for peace and expressed readiness to facilitate dialogue between the warring sides in a statement issued to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attack against Iranian diplomats and a reporter in Afghanistan's Mazar-i-Sharif.

August 8 marks one of the most bitter days for the diplomatic arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

23 years ago, on such a day, Iranian diplomats and an Iranian reporter were martyred at the country’s consulate general in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, in an act of cowardice and in violation of commitments made to Tehran as well as international regulations and treaties and the human and Islamic common sense.

International condolence and empathy with the people and government of Iran, following the terrorist incident, and especially the message of condolence from the oppressed people of Afghanistan, who were themselves victims to blind terror, was a fresh dazzling show of deep ties between the peoples of the two countries of Iran and Afghanistan, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

It said these are the ties, which in the midst of unjust wars and suffering of the oppressed people of Afghanistan, led to the reciprocal support of the people of Iran for their subjugated Afghan brothers and sisters.

Deep and true ties between the Iranian and Afghan nations leave the two sides with no better choice other than to take up constructive approaches with an eye on ensuring the interests of both countries, the statement said.

The people and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, just as in the past, are standing alongside their brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and support any solution that helps end more than four decades of baleful and devastating war and protects the achievements of the people of Afghanistan, which are the fruit of the blood of thousands of martyrs, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in the statement. 

It added that the Islamic Republic of Iran honors the memory of the martyrs of this incident and, once more, strongly condemns the act of terrorism. 

Tehran also pledges to pursue the issue as an obvious demand of the Iranian government and nation until the hidden aspects of the incident come to light, the ministry stated. 

In the end, Iran invites all parties to the war in Afghanistan to end their conflict and fratricide and look for a settlement through negotiations and expresses its readiness to continue to facilitate and host these talks, the Foreign Ministry concluded. 

“The need to prevent influx of Afghan refugees to borders”

Arnoult also met with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an aide to the speaker of the Iranian parliament who is rumored to become the next foreign minister of Iran. During his meeting with the UN envoy, Amir-Abdollahian stressed the importance of the security of the people inside Afghanistan and the prevention of the influx of refugees to the borders and stressed the need for unity among all parties. 

Explaining the views of Iran on the developments in Afghanistan and the region, he said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes the intra-Afghan talks with the presence of all parties.”

Amir-Abdollahian also stressed the role of the United Nations in establishing peace and security in Afghanistan and added, “The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the United Nations initiatives in resolving the Afghan crisis.”

At the same time, he criticized the UN for not taking active action in response to recent developments in Afghanistan.

“The irresponsible actions of the Americans and the behavioral effects of the occupiers have multiplied the problems of the suffering people of Afghanistan,” Amir-Abdollahian noted. “We should not see the Americans continue to act irresponsibly and remain calm at the United Nations.”

In the meeting, Arnault considered the role of neighbors, especially Iran, in resolving the Afghan conflict significant and said, “There should be a stronger international consensus on the issue of Afghanistan, and this issue requires the support of neighboring countries.”

At the end of the meeting, the UN envoy for Afghanistan stressed the need to support a political solution to the Afghan crisis and praised the constructive role of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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