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Iranian Delegation Visits Afghanistan To Discuss Vital Bilateral Agreement

FILE: Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif in Tehran.
FILE: Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif in Tehran.

Senior Afghan and Iranian diplomats are meeting to work on an agreement leading to “comprehensive cooperation” between their countries.

Afghan and Iranian Foreign ministry officials are scheduled to hold a joint meeting with their respective economic, transit, and defense-security committees on July 16.

The meetings are part of an effort to revive strained relations following recent incidents in which Iranian security forces allegedly abused and even killed Afghan migrants.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said the meeting will be attended by the foreign ministries of both countries and will follow up on the results of Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar’s visit to Tehran three weeks ago.

During the diplomatic engagement, the two countries agreed on a document for “comprehensive cooperation” that will be finalized and signed by senior officials during the next three months.

A key aspect of the document states that all Afghan immigrants living in Iran must receive legal residence cards in the country.

This comes after strained relations persisted between the two neighboring countries following the drowning of dozens of Afghan refugees in the Harirud River by Iranian border patrol officers in early May. The Iranian border patrol reportedly beat and drowned Afghan refugees, leaving 12 confirmed dead.

A few weeks later, another incident took place in the central Iranian city of Yazd in which three Afghans died and several others were injured after a car chase with police, Iranian media reported.

The two events have led Afghans to protest in the streets and on social media to denounce Iranian authorities for what they say is abuse and discrimination against the estimated 1 million Afghan migrants and refugees in neighboring Iran.

The signing of the comprehensive cooperation document is vital to prevent the recurrence of such illegal acts on the borders of Iran and Afghanistan.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry has not given full disclosure on the topics that will be discussed in their meeting.

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