Need to Resolve Misunderstandings in Iran-Afghanistan Relations

2020/06/21 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Although some people are trying to fish in troubled waters by provoking some foreign countries as these people organized protests, albeit limited, in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul, but there is no doubt that there are problems with the status of Afghan citizens in Iran, something that cannot be denied. Therefore, these problems must be resolved as soon as possible and their traffic to Iran must be legalized. Pir Mohammad Molazehi - Afghanistan Affairs Expert

Over the past month or two, two incidents between Iran and Afghanistan have led to tensions in relations between the two sides, with Tehran and Kabul each narrating their own stories. First, the issue of several Afghan nationals drowned in the Harirod River on May 1. Afghans claimed that Iranian forces had arrested the Afghans who had crossed the river illegally to enter Iran and after being beaten they had been thrown into the river?!

Following this incident, some Afghan officials made some statements which were widely covered by the foreign media. However, the Iranian side completely denied such a narration and it was said that such a thing did not happen in that region. In fact, Iran insists that this happened in an area under  the control of the Afghans and the Afghan side claims that this happened to Afghan nationals in an area controlled by Iranian forces.

Therefore, it was decided to form a joint committee to investigate the issue; But the joint committee also failed to reach a conclusion, and Iran and Afghanistan continue to insist on their own stands.

The second issue was what happened in Yazd; In this case, although the military forces fired on the vehicle carrying Afghans with the intention of stopping it, they blamed the overturning of the car on the driver’s attempt to escape, not the officers’ shooting. In fact, the story was that a car smuggled Afghan workers into Iran from the border. On Wednesday, June 3, the vehicle carrying illegal Afghan national and was being chased by Yazd police force, was targeted by officers in order to stop it.

The incident provoked strong reactions in Afghanistan, especially from the media, which are somehow opposed to Iran and has the financial support of Western NGOs and certain regional governments. This compelled the Kabul government to take a stand in this regard. Therefore, these two incidents within a short period of time have caused tensions between Iran and Afghanistan, and as the two sides insist on their positions and narratives of the incident, the crisis remains unresolved.

Meanwhile, although some people are trying to fish in troubled waters by provoking some foreign countries as these people organized protests, albeit limited, in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul, but there is no doubt that there are problems with the status of Afghan citizens in Iran, something that cannot be denied. Therefore, these problems must be resolved as soon as possible and their traffic to Iran must be legalized.

Therefore, given the long-standing relations between Iran and Afghanistan, it is necessary to resolve such tensions more quickly, because the two nations have cultural, linguistic, religious and historical commonalities. The best solution is to form a committee of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a joint group including the Afghan side to look into the matter.

The second group is people who enter Iran as workforce, and these people must also be organized. Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, Iran has hosted a large number of Afghans, and nearly three million Afghans have entered Iran over the years.

Therefore, given the history of bilateral relations and the fact that the Islamic Republic has always welcomed Afghan citizens in the past few decades, the two countries should work to resolve the problems and not allow the relations between the Afghan and Iranian nations to deteriorate.

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