Iranian Officials Stress Peace and Security in Afghanistan

August 6, 2003 - 0:0
-- Head of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani here on Tuesday voiced his country's support for any move to establish stability in Afghanistan.

Rafsanjani made the remarks during a meeting with United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi.

The Iranian nation are sympathetic to the Afghan people due to their religious and humane feelings and will support any move that helps establish stability in Afghanistan, Rafsanjani said as he pointed to the existence of millions of Afghan refugees in Iran.

He stressed the role played by the United States and some regional countries in setting up the al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and said, the United States embarked on no effective measure to settle problems of Afghanistan after the occupation of the country, IRNA reported.

Despite the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and their previous claims of fighting against drug smuggling, there is no organized effort to this effect, he added.

Pointing to international pressures particularly those imposed by the United States on Iran solely because it punishes drug smugglers, the EC head said the issue shows that drug smugglers have supporters outside the country.

He stressed the importance of the establishment of stability in Afghanistan for Iran as he pointed to great destruction caused by the Afghan civil wars.

During the meeting, Brahimi outlined the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and said certain foreign support for the Taliban is responsible for the escalation of crises in the country.

Despite ongoing efforts, no one could halt increasing trend of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan without the establishment of a powerful and stable government in that country, Brahimi said.

He pointed to the efforts made by the Islamic Republic of Iran to fight drug smuggling and said, the world and even the United States know that Iran is pioneer in this regard.

United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Tehran on Sunday on an official three-day visit to discuss Afghan developments with senior Iranian officials.

The envoy had separate meetings with President Mohammad Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Mohsen Aminzadeh on developments in Afghanistan and other regional issues.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi expressed his country's support for a stable and strong government in Afghanistan.

During a meeting with United Nations Special Representative to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi, the two sides discussed regional issues and the United Nations' role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"Iran has consistently voiced support for a stable and strong government in Afghanistan that guarantees the peace, stability and welfare of the Afghan people. This is our government's policy," Kharrazi said as he stressed the need for speedy reconstruction of the war-devastated country.

On Iran-Afghanistan bilateral ties, Kharrazi noted that the same are anchored on the countries' shared traditions, history and deep-rooted civilization.

He expressed optimism more consultations and cooperation between the United Nations and the Islamic Republic of Iran would lead to durable solutions to the problems of refugees and narcotics affecting the two countries. Brahimi, for his part, outlined UN activities in Afghanistan, saying "Security and stability in Afghanistan play a decisive role in the participation of countries and international organizations in the reconstruction work in Afghanistan." The UN envoy lauded Iran's participation in the reconstruction work in various areas in Afghanistan, describing it as "very positive and successful."

"We attach special importance to consultations between the United Nations and Iran," Brahimi said.

In related news, Brahimi met here Monday with Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Mohsen Aminzadeh on developments in Afghanistan and regional issues.

Aminzadeh, referring to developments since the U.S.-led war to topple the Taleban, said Iran's policy is to support speedy reconstruction of the country.

He said Iran is working with the international community in various reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, and pointed to its relative success in efforts to eliminate poppy cultivation in that country.

He also stressed the need to improve security in that country in order to guarantee success of national and regional measures. Brahimi expressed appreciation for Iran's active role in the work of reconstruction in Afghanistan, saying the international community's participation was "necessary."

The envoy had a meeting with President Mohammad Khatami here Monday. "The Islamic Republic of Iran will spare no effort to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and the success of the United Nations in that country," Khatami assured him in that meeting.