Zarif to travel to two neighboring countries

June 10, 2020 - 18:9

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will travel to two neighboring countries in the near future, spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday.

“In the current circumstances, some trips such as trips to Syria and Afghanistan by the foreign minister and some of the ministry’s diplomats is on the agenda,” Mousavi said, Mehr reported.

He said the details will be announced if the trips are finalized.

The spokesman also said nationals of some countries try to enter Iran illegally, adding that the Iranian police will not tolerate such acts which are related to the country’s national security.

Referring to recent incidents regarding the Afghan nationals, the spokesman said, “For every country, the country’s security, border security, fighting drug [trafficking], terrorism and human trafficking are important.”

“Regardless of our relations, it’s natural that the police would not tolerate such acts,” he said. “In recent incidents, we witnessed that some nationals of neighboring and non-neighboring countries were trying to enter the country illegally.”

The remarks came days after Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharvand blamed illegal traffic of Afghan migrants for the human tragedy in Harirud.

“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 said on Sunday.

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.”

Afghan media outlets have reported that about 50 Afghan migrants crossing into Iran illegally had been beaten and thrown into a river. Iranian political and border officials have refuted the claim, saying the incident happened on the Afghan side of the border.

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

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry announced on May 9 that an inquiry had been launched into the tragedy.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected as a “bitter joke” a claim by the United States that Iranian guards were involved in the deaths of Afghan migrants.

“Iran has strong ties with Afghanistan & leads the way to help Afghan leaders for inclusive Gvt. What happened to Afghan nationals in Herat is tragic & unrelated to Iran, but U.S. regime’s allegation against Iran is a ‘bitter joke’,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published via Twitter on May 5.