June 3, 2013

AFGHANISTAN: Official: Iran-Afghanistan Bilateral Ties Unaffected by Western Sanctions

Fars News Agency
written by Staff
February 13, 2013

TEHRAN - The US-led western sanctions have failed to influence Iran's relations with its neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, a senior Iranian official said.

Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urbanization Shahriyar Afandizadeh made the remarks at the Fourth Iran-Afghanistan Road Transport Cooperation Meeting in Kabul.

The Iranian official pointed to the enhanced mutual economic cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan, and noted that the western sanctions have in no way affected the bilateral ties between the two countries.

He reiterated that sanctions and embargos will not be able to undermine his country's ties and cooperation with Afghanistan because Iran is of vital importance to Afghanistan. The official explained that Afghanistan can link to the world's free waters via Iran, and added that Iran is a transit route for 105 countries.

In December, a senior Iranian trade official announced that Iran's exports accounted for one-fourth of Afghanistan's total imports from foreign countries in the current Iranian year (ends on March 20, 2013).

"Iran has gained a 25 percent share of Afghanistan's imports in the current (Iranian) year," Deputy Head of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Reza Tofiqizadeh said.

"The value of Iran's export to Afghanistan stood at $500mln six years ago, while the figure amounted to $2.18bln in the current year," he added.

Iran is one of the most important donors to Afghanistan which has kept its promises to help to the reconstruction of the war-hit country.

Iran has built some roads, power transmission lines, and border stations, among the other infrastructure projects which would better link the two nations.

Iran has also contributed more than $50 million annually to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts in the last 8 years.

In November, a senior Iranian legislator underscored Tehran and Kabul's abundant commonalities in different fields, and said there are good grounds for the further development of economic relations and cooperation between the two countries.

The remarks were made by Chairman of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi in a meeting with Leader of the Islamic Unity Party of the People of Afghanistan Mohammad Mohaqiq in Tehran.

Referring to the historical, cultural and religious affinities between the two nations, Boroujerdi said the Islamic Republic of Iran has always backed the Afghan nation in all ups and downs in the past three decades and hosted millions of Afghan refugees.

Given the invaluable experience of Iranian parliament over half a century, he said there exists good ground for expansion of broad-based parliamentary relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.

Mohaqiq, for his part, referred to the longstanding cultural and religious ties between the two countries, and called for benefiting from each other's capabilities to broaden economic cooperation.

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