Expansion of ties with neighbors tops Iran foreign policy: Minister

Tehran, August 19, IRNA – Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Tuesday that expansion of cooperation with neighboring countries is the principle strategy in the foreign policy of Iran.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark National Day of Afghanistan, he said President Hassan Rouhani has always underscored strengthening of all-out ties with Iran’s neighbors.
Referring to common religion, language, culture, history and geography beteween Iran and Afghanistan, he said Iran was beside the people of Afghanistan during its occupation by Soviet army, against Taliban militia and in the reconstruction period.
He welcomed formation of a national reconciliation government in Afghanistan and said common viewpoints of Tehran and Kabul outnumber their disagreements on certain bilateral issues.
Saying that Iran cannot remain indifferent to insecurity at its borders, Fazli sai added, we are ready for increasing cooperation for regional and international plans against terrorism and narcotics despite of its huge costs.
To restore security in Afghanistan, he added, there is no need to the presence of foreign troops since Afghan forces who have gained considerable experience can defend sovereignty of the country.
The minister said Iran has spent 370 million dollars on development projects in Afghanistan and is ready to assist against narcotics and terrorism in cooperation with regional countries and international community.
He also said that some 850 thousand Afghan refguees are in Iran and 97 percent of them live in urban areas while in all other countries, people with similar status are held in camps or special centers.