Iran’s Ambassador to UN stressed Iran’s full support for the promotion of security in Afghanistan, saying a peaceful Afghanistan will greatly contribute to the security of the region.
Iran’s Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gholamhossein Dehghani, addressed the General Assembly on the Situation in Afghanistan, reiterating Iran’s support for Afghan-led peace process and deploring the “continued prevailing uncertainty” in peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban.
He also called on the international community to support the Afghan unity government, “which continues to be imperative to bring the fight against terrorism and extremism to its successful conclusion”.
Dehghani then referred to the trilateral agreement between Iran, Afghanistan and India to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar, as part of Iran’s various projects to help with the development of Afghanistan.
Here is the full text of his address:
Allow me to begin by thanking Germany for steering the negotiations on the draft resolution A/71/L.13 under consideration today.
As it has been the case in the past several years, terrorist groups have continued their subversive and criminal activities in Afghanistan in the past year. My people and government strongly condemns the perpetrators of these barbaric atrocities that culminated, among many others, in the bombings of peaceful demonstrations and religious gatherings on 23 July and in mid-October this year, which led to hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries. In committing these crimes, the terrorist groups, led by the Taliban and DAESH and their affiliates, are doing whatever in their power to prevent the country to return to normal and continue on the path of peace and development.
My government continues to reiterate its support for any Afghan-led peace process, acknowledges peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban and deplores the continued prevailing uncertainty in this regards. At the same time, we condemn any cooperation with the Taliban as we believe that it will encourage them and other terrorist groups in their odious behavior and will prove to be counterproductive to establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Iran has and continues to warn about the emergence of Daesh and its affiliates in Afghanistan. During the same period, we witnessed that the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province (ISIL KP) claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack against a demonstration by ethnic Hazaras on the 23 July, which was the deadliest single incident recorded by the United Nations in Afghanistan since 2001. ISIL – KP, along with a spectrum of other terrorist and extremist groups, such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in north and the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkistan appear as an emerging security threat in Afghanistan.
We support the Afghan National Unity Government, as it is at the forefront of fighting against terrorism and undertaking efforts to stabilize the situation in the country and keeping the people united in this fight. It is also important that the international community stays on the path of supporting the Afghan unity government, which continues to be imperative to bring the fight against terrorism and extremism to its successful conclusion and address security, economic and political challenges.
Today, as in the past, strengthening our regional cooperation with Afghanistan is a priority for my government as a major pathway to consolidate peace and economic in the region. During the past decade, Iran has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and engaged experts to help Afghanistan with the completion of hundreds of projects, ranging from infrastructure to training and capacity building in human resources, especially through offering hundreds of scholarships each year.
Following the trilateral agreement between Iran, Afghanistan and India to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar, relevant coordination meetings at the level of the governors of the border provinces were held on 25 and 26 July to discuss security and new trade opportunities involving the Port. Afghan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Tehran on 3 August for discussions on trade, infrastructure, and the presence of Afghan nationals in Iran and Afghan National Security Advisor visited Iran on 6 and 7 August to discuss border security and countering violent extremism. The fifth Afghanistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission was held on 10 August in Tehran. Iran and Afghanistan are also committed to increase their connectivity with emphasis, including on the Khaf-Herat Railway, 78-Mile railroad project in Farah and the second bridge over Hirmand River.
Narcotic drugs continue to be a real threat for this region and many other parts of the globe. It is a very serious issue for my Government and the Iranian society and it is so for many other governments and societies, we therefore believe that it should be also taken very seriously by the international community and addressed in a comprehensive manner. Any increase in narcotics is a reflection of the prevailing insecurity and poverty. Strong support and commitment from international donors, Afghan authorities and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is essential to deter the menace of narcotics as a social health challenge and more importantly, a major source of income for extremist and terrorist groups.
Iran continues to participate in the work of Tripartite Commission in order to plan for voluntary, safe, dignified and gradual repatriation of Afghan refugees. We welcome any effort to help overcome the current obstacles, including the main reintegration challenges faced by returnees, and to formulate a Comprehensive Voluntary Repatriation and Reintegration Strategy. Success in voluntary repatriation first and foremost depends on providing the reasonable needs of repatriated refugees in Afghanistan, and underscores the necessity for mobilizing more international support for this purpose.
Meanwhile, we continue our support to hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Iran, especially in the fields of education and medical services. Last year we enrolled 386000 Afghan students in our schools and universities, regardless of their legal status. In the field of health care and medical services, we continue to provide services to hundreds of thousands of refugees each year. In some areas, the number of Afghan refugees receiving these services exceeds the Iranians.
Iran continues its full support for the promotion of security, stability and comprehensive and sustainable development in Afghanistan since we believe that a peaceful and secure Afghanistan will greatly contribute to the security of our borders and our neighborhood. We support UNAMA as well as UN agencies in their efforts to provide development and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan through a genuine commitment by the United Nations to a sustained partnership with Afghanistan, as set forth in Final Report of the Tripartite Review Commission on the United Nations in Afghanistan. We need to utilize the UNAMA mandate and its good offices for strengthening national institutions and capacities in priority areas as requested by the Government.