Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with the visiting Afghan’s acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar during which the two sides discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest.
Referring to the death of a number of Afghan nationals, who had tried to enter Iran illegally, Iran’s security chief expressed regret over the incident, adding, “While our police force has played no role in such incidents, undocumented media attacks against Iran by some Afghan officials and media outlets are both surprising and cause of regret.”
“There is solid evidence to refuse allegations against Iran in this regard, which if the Afghan side were willing, could be discussed away from unconstructive propaganda,” Shamkhani said.
Iran’s top security official then pointed to policies adopted by the United States to make the region tense and insecure, saying, “After facing shameful fiascos in Syria and Iraq following the fall of the Daesh [terrorist group], the enemies of Muslim nations are pursuing a new plan by targeting good relations between Iran and Afghanistan to prevent further solidarity and friendship between the two nations.”
He further said the Islamic Republic has provided full support for the Afghan people, particularly more than three million immigrants, over the past 40 years, adding that the Iranian government and nation will continue to support Afghans in the future.
The SNSC secretary stressed the importance of finalizing the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation agreement, noting that the strategic document would lead to major developments in the two countries’ relations and further strengthen historical relations between Tehran and Kabul.
The Afghan acting foreign minister, for his part, hailed Iran’s effective and all-out support for the Afghan government and nation, saying that Kabul is determined to further expand relations with Tehran.
Atmar expressed regret over some unacceptable measures carried out by the two countries’ ill-wishers and called for the settlement of the existing issues through dialog.
“We stress the need for resolving issues that exist between the two countries through dialog and tolerance, and condemn any negative statement and action against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Afghanistan’s top diplomat said.
He emphasized that the continuation of cordial relations is among main priorities of the Afghan government, adding that no third country would be allowed to damage Tehran-Kabul ties.
The top Afghan diplomat also expressed hope that the document for comprehensive cooperation between the two countries would be finalized within the next three months and signed by the two countries’ presidents.
Iran, Afghanistan to finalize comprehensive cooperation agreement in 3 months
Earlier on Sunday and following three rounds of talks between Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atmar in Tehran, the two sides affirmed that they will finalize the comprehensive agreement for boosting cooperation in a matter of three months from now.
During the meeting, Zarif and Atmar discussed the latest developments in bilateral relations, including political, economic, security, cultural, and border cooperation between Tehran and Kabul.
They also exchanged views about the latest issues related to Afghan refugees and nationals in Iran as well as transportation between the two neighbors.
Zarif highlighted the support provided to Afghan people and government by the Iranian government and nation, including hosting more than three million Afghan nationals by the Islamic Republic of Iran during the past 40 years, providing 520,000 Afghan students with free education in Iran on the order of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and admission of over 22,000 Afghan students at Iranian universities.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its efforts at regional and international levels to forge consensus in support of the pivotal role of the Afghan government in any inter-Afghan talks and for the protection of the country’s constitution, the republic nature of the political system there, and observation of the rights and norms highlighted in Afghanistan’s constitution,” Iran’s foreign minister said.
‘Anti-Iran media onslaught aimed at tarnishing Tehran-Kabul ties’
Elsewhere in the meeting, Iran’s foreign minister criticized the recent media onslaught and anti-Iran claims by some foreign players and domestic political currents in Afghanistan over the border incident for Afghan nationals, describing them as an effort to undermine the brotherly relations between the two countries.
Zarif expressed hope that the Afghan government will show more vigilance to prevent destructive efforts made by ill-wishers of the two countries.
Zarif expressed regret over the border incident involving the Afghan nationals, noting that the root cause of the incident was lack of enough supervision over the common border, which has allowed human smugglers to take advantage of this situation.
Atmar arrived in Tehran on Sunday on an official two-day visit and is scheduled to meet other senior Iranian officials. This is his first visit to Iran as the acting foreign minister.
Atmar has already served as the national security adviser to Afghanistan’s president and had previous meetings with Zarif and Shamkhani in 2016.
Atmar’s current visit to Iran comes amid a diplomatic row between Kabul and Tehran over a number of issues, including alleged torture and drowning of dozens of Afghan migrants.
Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement last month that an inquiry has been launched to assess claims that dozens of Afghans who were trying to enter Iran from bordering Herat Province were beaten and pushed into the Harirud river by Iranian border guards.
The Harirud river basin is shared by Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the incident befalling a number of Afghan citizens at a border region close to the Iranian soil took place on the Afghan side of the border and Iran’s border guards had no part in it.
“The incident affecting a number of Afghanistan’s citizens has taken place on that country’s soil and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s border guards have denied any involvement in this regard,” Mousavi said while expressing sympathy with the families of the victims.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on June 13 summoned Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Tehran Abdulghafour Lival to protest recent measures by certain political groups against the Islamic Republic.
The Afghan diplomat was summoned to the ministry on Saturday to provide an explanation for a series of offensive moves against Iran’s embassy in Kabul and other diplomatic missions in Afghanistan during the past few days.
During the meeting, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s West Asia department, Rasoul Mousavi, expressed his concern over the impact of such moves by few Afghan groups on the two countries’ relations.