Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Iran has been in constant contact with the Taliban since its August takeover, but has called for an inclusive government.

Tehran, Iran – Iran has been away from officially recognizing the Taliban as the government of neighboring Afghanistan for some time, its foreign ministry said after a meeting with the group in Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Sunday’s high-level talks with Taliban representatives were “positive”, but Iran was still “not about to officially recognize the Taliban”.

“The current state of Afghanistan is a major concern for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the visit of the Afghan delegation was within the framework of these concerns,” he added in a press conference on Monday.

The Taliban delegation, led by the group’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with their Iranian counterparts led by Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

It was the first such visit by a Taliban delegation since the group caused the collapse of the country’s Western-backed government amid the chaotic withdrawal of United States-led forces in August.

Since the fall of Kabul, Iran’s official position has been that it will only recognize the Taliban if they succeed in a “inclusive” government. Iran and the Taliban have since been in contact with Special Iranian envoy Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, who has made several trips to Afghanistan in recent months.

Border collision ‘misunderstanding’

Before Sunday’s meeting, both sides said they wanted to discuss political, economic, transit and refugee issues.

According to a statement from Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Amirabdollahian criticized “wrong policies” by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan during the meeting, saying the US should lift its sanctions on humanitarian grounds and around the Afghan people and help the economy.

He also promised that Iran would continue to send humanitarian aid to its neighbor, saying “the efforts of the zealous people of Afghanistan have shown that no foreign power can occupy Afghanistan and rule over its people”.

Amirabdollahian also reminded Muttaqi of the 1998 murder of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif during a consulate siege in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and said the Taliban now has a responsibility to protect diplomatic offices.

Iran and Taliban border forces also have a short collision last month in Hirmand, who both later described it as a “misunderstanding”.

During Sunday’s meeting, Muttaqi said the new Afghan government emphasized the point that “it is not against any of its neighbors”.

The two parties apparently also agreed that further meetings between technical delegations would be scheduled to discuss the issue of Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River.

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