Iran says it’s ready to work with Russia and China on Afghanistan ‘peace’

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday told Russian and Chinese leaders that Tehran was ready to co-operate with them to establish “stability and peace” in Afghanistan.

The Taliban routed Afghanistan’s major cities in only 10 days, with relatively little bloodshed after two decades of war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The country’s collapse came as US President Joe Biden moved to complete the withdrawal of US troops.

“Iran is ready to co-operate with China to establish security, stability and peace in Afghanistan and strive for its people’s development, progress and prosperity,” Mr Raisi told Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Iranian leader’s website said Beijing initiated the call.

In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Raisi also spoke of Iran’s readiness for “any co-operation for establishing peace and calm in Afghanistan” .

“We believe all Afghan groups should work together … and turn the US withdrawal into a turning point for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

Analysts say the Taliban’s advances have put neighbouring Iran on edge, but it is taking a pragmatic stance on the Taliban’s resurgence.

Iran had tense relations with the Taliban between 1996 when they took power, and 2001 when they were toppled in an American-led invasion over their links to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks on the US.

Iran never recognised the Taliban’s rule, but has said in recent months that they must be “part of a future solution” in Afghanistan.

The ultra-conservative Mr Raisi on Monday said the “defeat” and US withdrawal should “offer an opportunity to restore life, security, and lasting peace” in Afghanistan.

On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it had reduced its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan but kept its embassy open in Kabul.

Mr Raisi also called on China and Russia to increase Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to Iran.

He hoped that Beijing would “accelerate procurement of millions of doses purchased”, and told Mr Putin that Tehran wanted “more shipments” because of its current “special circumstances”.

The Middle East country worst hit by the pandemic, Iran is going through a new wave of Covid deaths and infections amid an inoculation campaign that has progressed more slowly than authorities planned.

It has officially recorded more than 99,000 deaths and nearly 4.6 million infections, the Health Ministry says.

SOURCE: The National

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