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Iran urges UN to help facilitate peace process among all Afghan groups

Iran has called on the United Nations to help facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan aimed at ending decades of bloodshed in the conflict-ridden country, saying a more stable Afghanistan will benefit all of its citizens, the broader region and the world.

Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks on Tuesday during a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan amid renewed violence there as the Taliban militant group makes gains on the battlefield.

With the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the country is at a crossroads: if all parties agree to negotiate and end the bloodshed, the country can move toward reconciliation, and if one side opts to force others to accept peace, the country can descend into clashes, Iran’s representative said.

The senior diplomat said the international community should not allow the second option to happen in Afghanistan, adding that a safer, more stable and more prosperous Afghanistan, which is in peace with itself and its neighbors, will be in the interest of all Afghans, the region and the world.

On the contrary, he added, an insecure and unstable Afghanistan that would witness violent extremism, terrorism and organized crimes such as drug production and trafficking poses a threat to Afghans themselves as well as to regional and international peace and security.

Building a secure Afghanistan requires the start of a comprehensive intra-Afghan peace process facilitated by the UN, the Iranian envoy said, emphasizing that the road to lasting peace passes through a real internal dialog involving all Afghan political, ethnic and religious groups, including the Taliban, in an atmosphere of cooperation, understanding and reconciliation.

In a diverse society like that of Afghanistan, no group can resort to force and violence to dominate others; therefore, the formation of a legitimate government can only be achieved through a comprehensive political process and democratic ways, he added.

Takht-Ravanchi further expressed concern about the security situation in Afghanistan, referring to the growing number of deadly attacks by the Daesh terrorist group.

With the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have no justification for using force, the Iranian envoy said, urging the group to stop the violence and use political means to sincerely help establish lasting peace in the country.

By hosting millions of Afghan refugees and connecting the landlocked country to the high seas via the port of Chabahar and to Europe via the Khaf-Herat railway, Iran has proven that it stands by the Afghan government and people to build a secure, stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, he concluded.

Iran holds US accountable for Afghan escalation

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran is “closely following the alarming developments” in neighboring Afghanistan.

“Iran calls for immediate de-escalation, respect for rule of law, & inclusive dialogue,” he tweeted. “Destructive policies of the US have had lingering consequences in our region & now its utterly irresponsible conduct is taking a toll.”

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