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Afghan Senate Vice Speaker in exclusive interview with ICANA

Iran Paving the Way for Peace in Afghanistan

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TEHRAN, July 30 (ICANA) – Vice Speaker of Afghanistan Senate Rafiullah Gul Afghan referred to the rise in the level of Tehran-Kabul interaction and called Iran an important factor for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.
Saturday, July 30, 2011 2:11:28 PM
Iran Paving the Way for Peace in Afghanistan

He said Iran, through supporting and cooperating with the High Commission of Afghanistan Peace Council could prepare the ground for a speedy realization of peace in that country.

In an exclusive interview with ICANA, the Afghan official said that unfortunately relations with Iran in certain areas have been diminished due to the presence of the American military in Afghanistan. He stressed that in the aftermath of US military presence this idea was developed among Iranian officials that their presence might lead to their intervention in Iran. But, he emphasized, it should be noted that Afghanistan practices an independent policy and would not allow its territory to be misused against other countries such as the brotherly and friendly Iran.

Approving that level of Iran-Afghanistan relations after the collapse of the Taliban was enjoying an acceptable position, he said after the Taliban we are witnessing that by reliance on language and cultural commonalities between the two countries, the level of interactions between has taken a momentum.

Gul Afghan underlined the need for a serious campaign against drug traffickers and said fight against narcotic drugs is a global responsibility and all are obliged to struggle such an ominous phenomenon. During the Taliban, Afghanistan had been turned into a hub for trafficking narcotic drugs and unfortunately it has remained the same. But, he added, it is hoped that through efforts that have been launched for fighting drugs trafficking this ominous phenomenon would be halted.

With regard to transfer of security responsibilities from foreign forces to Afghan forces, he said about 15 days are passed since the transfer was started and so far Afghanistan has exhibited enough capability to defend its territorial integrity by relying on domestic forces. He expressed hope that by the end of 2014 all foreign troops would leave the Afghan territory.

The Afghan parliamentarian, referring to transferring Taliban from an armed group to a political group in political equations, stressed that it was a mere rumor and no reliable information was yet available in this regard.

Commenting on reports about efforts of foreign forces to dismiss President Hamid Karzai, he said it was a rumor, adding that the president was a national and respectful figure in Afghanistan who plays an important role in the country under the status quo. No doubt, he added, Karzai who has come to power through public vote could continue a five-year period and no one could dismiss him from his position.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday, Iran and Afghanistan have stressed the importance of joint Tehran-Kabul action to fight terrorism and extremism in the region.

Chairman of Iran's Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi, and visiting Rafiullah Gul Afghan, the second deputy of Afghanistan's Senate, condemned extremism and pledged to provide the legal grounds required for eradicating terrorism in the region.

The statement also emphasized the Afghan nation's ability to maintain security in the country, voiced support for the full handover of security posts to Afghan forces and called on Afghanistan's High Peace Council to take further steps to maintain stability and peace in the country.

The Iranian and Afghan officials urged promotion of bilateral economic relations and commercial transactions between Iran and Afghanistan through the two countries' parliaments.

They also expressed grave concern about the mounting production of narcotics in the region, and urged cooperation between the Iranian and Afghan parliaments to pass stricter laws to counter drug cultivation, production and trafficking.

Boroujerdi and Gul Afghan also called for the formation of a parliamentary friendship group within a month.

Gul Afghan heading a parliamentary delegation comprising chairmen of various commissions visited Iran July 23-26, upon an invitation from Boroujerdi to hold talks with senior Iranian officials.

During their stay here, the senior Afghan lawmakers met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, Justice Minister Morteza Bakhtiari, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, as well as chairmen of Iranian parliament commissions.










An explosion in Iran's natural gas transmission line to Turkey has temporarily disrupted gas supplies to Iran's western neighbor.

Rescue teams and fire squads have been dispatched to the blast-hit pipeline and managed to control the ensuing blaze after removing the excess gas in the line.

The early Friday blast is said to have taken place by terrorist PJAK forces near a village around the northwestern town of Maku close to Iran's border with Turkey.

Technicians of Iran's gas company were carrying out pipeline maintenance tasks and repair services to restore the gas flow.

A spokesman for the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying that the flow of Iranian gas is to resume to neighboring Turkey on Saturday.

“This pipeline is going through the final stages of repair and the flow of gas will resume on Saturday at noon,” NIGC’s Majid Boujarzadeh said.

It was not the first time Iran’s gas exports to Turkey have been disrupted. In the summer of 2010, the pipeline was damaged twice in blasts blamed on separatist Kurdish rebels.

According to reports, Iran exports a daily average of more than 30 million cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey, which indicates a daily growth of eleven million cubic meters in 2010.

In 2009, Iran exported an average of 21 million cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey per day. The value of Iran's gas exports to Turkey in 2009 was almost $7 billion.

Iran has the world's second-largest natural gas reserves after Russia and is Turkey's second-biggest supplier after Moscow.

In related news, Iranian Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam has praised the cooperation between Iran and Turkey in improving the security of the common border.

The Iranian commander added that Iran is implementing “various security plans” on its western border with Iraq and Turkey to counter with the activities of the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) terrorist group.

He noted that Iran, in cooperation with Turkey, has taken “good measures” on its northwestern border against “terrorist groups supported by the US and Israel.”

Members of the PJAK -- an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- regularly engage in armed clashes with Iranian security forces along the country's western borders with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has deployed 5,000 military forces in the northwest of the country along its common border with Iraq's Kurdistan, and has been fighting the PJAK terrorist group over the past weeks in order to establish security and stabilize the area.

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