KABUL: Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah has cited tense US-Iran relations as a reason for Iran’s absence during the opening ceremony of intra-Afghan talks in Doha earlier this month, saying the country supported peace in Afghanistan nonetheless.
“Iran was invited…Sometimes their relations with the United States which [are] under a lot of tension at the moment, those things affect their decisions [of] participating in a conference or not,” Abdullah said in an interview with Voice of America this week.
However, he said that despite the country’s lack of participation in the event, Iran supported the peace process.
Abdullah said Tehran held “legitimate concerns” and “legitimate interests” in Afghanistan, adding the country’s contacts with various Taliban groups could be used as an asset to advance peace efforts.
This comes as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad urged the Islamic Republic of Iran this week to join the Afghan peace process and the peace negotiations.
He said “we have offered to meet with Iranians on this issue. “They should join us at various forums to discuss the future of Afghanistan.” However, the US envoy alleged that Iran created problems for American efforts to stabilize the war-devastated country.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry hailed the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations in the Qatari capital at the time. In a statement released, the ministry had said Iran “condemns any political opportunism and profiteering from the intra-Afghan talks, especially by the US government for electoral purposes and considers such moves to be disruptive to the talks.”