Afghanistan, Iran to Form Strategic Cooperation Pact

Afghanistan and Iran agreed on the need for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan and on a quick start of the intra-Afghan negotiations.

Afghanistan and Iran in a joint statement agreed to finalize a comprehensive document on strategic cooperation between the two countries within the next three months, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said.
The joint statement was issued after acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar completed his two-day visit to Tehran on Sunday.

In this visit, he met with high-ranking Iranian officials including Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as the minister of interior and minister of energy, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Afghanistan.

Atmar’s visit comes after two incidents involving the mistreatment and deaths of Afghan migrants in Iran. In early May, Iranian border guards allegedly detained and tortured Afghan migrants and forced them to jump into a river that runs along the two countries, causing many to drown. Then a second incident occurred in which three Afghans were killed when Iranian police shot at a vehicle in the city of Yazd, and the vehicle hit a guardrail and started a fire, killing three Afghans and wounding others.

The two incidents sparked many protests within the country and abroad.

Below are some key points of the joint statement issued by the two countries:

•    The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes a peace process led and owned by the people and the government of Afghanistan and is ready to facilitate intra-Afghan negotiations and host the negotiations in case it is demanded by the Afghan government.

•    The two sides emphasized the need for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan aimed at building confidence and creating a positive environment for the quick start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, achieving a permanent ceasefire and ensuring enduring peace in Afghanistan.

•    Considering the importance of regional and international consensus on peace and security in Afghanistan, the two sides (Afghanistan and Iran) insisted on strengthening regional and international cooperation and consultations and activating existing capacities in the region for facilitating talks and supporting the Islamic republic in Afghanistan.

•    The two sides called for good cooperation between the two countries at the international level on mutual issues including human rights and supporting citizens rights. They also called for a continuation of this cooperation in the future.

•    The two sides called for strengthening cooperation on media information and enhancing the understanding level of public opinion in the two countries.

•    The recent incidents that had casualties were discussed in detail and Iran reported progress in the investigation and the two sides agreed to take required measures to prevent the repeat of such incidents.

•    The border security committees were tasked with taking required measures to prevent illegal presence and human trafficking and ensure the security of the shared border between the two countries. The need for a presence of Afghan security forces in evacuated border outposts was also discussed.

•    The two sides agreed on the need to fully monitor and control the shared borders by border forces of the two countries.

•    The two sides agreed on multilateral and regional economic and trade cooperation and highlighted the role of Chabahar Port as the means for trade and transit cooperation in the region.

•    The two sides also agreed on continuation of cooperation in the energy sector, especially with renewable energy.

Afghanistan, Iran to Form Strategic Cooperation Pact