FNA – Iranian Ambassador to Islamabad Mehdi Honardoust underlined that Iran and Pakistan play a pivotal role in restoring peace and stability to the region.
“Tehran and Islamabad through their close cooperation are moving forward to bring peace to the region, specially their neighboring Afghanistan,” Honardoust said on Friday.
The Iranian ambassador reiterated that Iran and Pakistan as two important countries of the region can play a vital role for regional peace and stability.
In relevant remarks last week, former Pakistani Foreign Minister and senior politician Hina Rabbani Khar underscored Iran’s important role and capabilities to resolve regional problems, specially in Afghanistan.
“Iran is the most important country in resolving the regional crises, specially Afghanistan. The problem in Afghanistan and other regional states can be resolved through cooperation with the neighboring states, specially Iran, while the US is in no position,” Rabbani Khar told reporters in a press conference in Lahore city.
“Iran, Afghanistan and China are the most important countries for Pakistan and therefore, Islamabad should think of revising its relations with these countries before establishing ties with Washington,” she added.
Her remarks came after some controversial comments on Iran’s recent talks with the Taliban. Iran has been holding talks with the Taliban to help the peace process in Afghanistan.
Iranian officials have confirmed the talks, but meantime, stressed that negotiations with the Afghan group did not mean shared views or stances.
“A delegation from the Taliban was in Tehran yesterday and extensive talks were held at the foreign ministry with Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs (Seyed Abbas) Araqchi,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on December 30.
“The main goal of the negotiations is finding a solution and grounds to facilitate assistance to the talks between the Afghan groups and the government of this country to help the peace process in Afghanistan,” he added.
Qassemi underlined that talks with the Taliban “do not necessarily mean that Iran’s positions are similar to those of the group”, and expressed the hope that negotiations could yield results for the Afghan nation and establish security and stability in the country.
He also emphasized that the Afghan government was informed of Iran’s talks with the Taliban, and added, “We are not the only country which has held talks with the Taliban and many other states also have interactions with them.”
His remarks came as early in December the Pentagon acknowledged Iran’s key role in restoring peace and stability to war-torn Afghanistan, backtracking on Washington’s earlier claims that Tehran supports the local Taliban militant group.
“Iran seeks a stable Afghan government that is responsive to Iranian goals, the elimination of ISIS-K, the removal of the US/NATO presence, and the protection of Iranian concerns, such as water rights and border security,” the US Department of Defense said in a report sent to Congress.
The Pentagon also admitted Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, saying that Tehran pursues “a multitrack strategy” of engaging with the Afghan government and seeks to boost bilateral economic ties with Kabul.