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Iran, Russia highlight need for establishment of inclusive govt. in Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov

The foreign ministers of Iran and Russia have underlined the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of all groups in the war-torn country, where the Taliban militant group has gained power in light of the US withdrawal.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, made the comment in a phone conversation on Thursday, during which the two sides discussed the latest developments in the region and Afghanistan.

Amir-Abdollahian and Lavrov stressed that the new government of Afghanistan should be one that represents all political groups in the country.

The Taliban are now poised to run Afghanistan again two decades after they were removed from power by American forces following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. 

Iran’s position since the Taliban took control of Kabul in mid-August has been to call for the formation of an all-inclusive government by Afghan groups. Tehran has also warned against foreign interference in Afghanistan’s affairs, saying Washington’s humiliating defeat in the country proved once again that the Afghan people strongly reject any form of foreign interference.

During their phone conversation, the two foreign ministers also discussed bilateral relations and planned meetings between the two countries’ officials on the sidelines of the upcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

‘Russia rejects change to JCPOA’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian stressed the need for Russia to provide Iran with more Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine jabs based on previous bilateral agreements.

He thanked Moscow for resolving issues related to the return of Iranian students studying in Russian universities.

The top Iranian diplomat also raised the issues faced by Iranian businessmen and entrepreneurs in traveling to Russia, while Lavrov promised to follow up on the issue as soon as possible.

On the Vienna talks aimed to revive the US-abandoned Iran nuclear agreement, Lavrov said that his country, like Iran, will not accept any change to the text of the 2015 accord and wants the full implementation of the deal by all sides.

Iran and the remaining signatories to the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have already held six rounds of talks in Vienna, Austria, after the US administration of President Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the agreement, three years after his predecessor, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew.

The talks hit a pause due to Iran’s democratic transition after the June 18 presidential election, while more than two months of intensive negotiations failed to push the US to withdraw its illegal sanctions against Iran and guarantee that it will not leave the deal again.

Both Iran and Russia have dismissed the notion of making changes to the text of the JCPOA or the possibility of reaching a new deal.

‘In its miscalculation, US thinks it can use sanctions as bargaining chip’

In another development on Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister talked to the secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, discussing with him regional and international developments, including the situation in Afghanistan and the prospects for future talks on the revival of Iran’s nuclear agreement in Vienna.

During the conversation, Amir-Abdollahian told Guterres that the Islamic Republic is committed to talks as a tool for diplomacy.

“Unfortunately, Americans have been caught in a miscalculation as a result of the continuation of their illegal sanctions [against Iran] and think that they can use them as a bargaining chip in [nuclear] talks,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

“Negotiating parties must arrive in Vienna equipped with a realistic understanding and pay serious attention to the rights and interests of the Iranian nation. In our opinion, only those negotiations are acceptable that lead to tangible results,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He voiced concern about the terrorist movements in Afghanistan and the region and denounced the use of terrorism as a tool by certain powers, describing it as the main obstacle to peace, stability and calm in the region.

The top Iranian diplomat expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with the UN secretary general in order to politically resolve the situation in Afghanistan in continuation of the meetings between Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, with the UN playing a role in the process.

The two sides also underscored the necessity to form an all-inclusive government in which all Afghan ethnicities play a role, asserting that war and violence must not prevail in Afghanistan.

For his part, Guterres thanked the Islamic Republic for its hospitality in hosting Afghan refugees and stressed that he is committed to supporting Iran’s efforts in hosting the refugees.

He also described the UN as a supporter of dialog and agreement, calling for the resumption of the Vienna talks.

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