Expansion of ties with neighbors tops Iran foreign policy: Minister

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Iran cannot remain indifferent to insecurity at its borders and is ready for closer cooperation with Kabul in the fight against terrorism and narcotics, said Rahmani Fazli.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on Tuesday that closer cooperation with neighboring countries is the principal strategy in the foreign policy of Iran.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark National Day of Afghanistan, he said President Rouhani has always underscored a boost in all-out ties with Iran’s neighbors.

Recalling common religion, language, culture, history and geography between Iran and Afghanistan, he said Iran stood by Afghan people during the country’s occupation by Soviet army, against Taliban militia and in the reconstruction period.

He welcomed the formation of a national reconciliation government in Afghanistan and said common viewpoints of Tehran and Kabul outnumber their disagreements on certain bilateral issues.

He said that Iran cannot remain indifferent to insecurity at its borders and added that we are ready for closer cooperation in regional and international plans against terrorism and narcotics despite its huge costs.

To restore security in Afghanistan, he added, there is no need for the presence of foreign troops since Afghan forces who have gained considerable experience can defend the sovereignty of the country.

The minister said Iran has spent $370 million on development projects in Afghanistan and is ready to help in the fight against narcotics and terrorism in cooperation with regional countries and the international community.

He also said that some 850,000 Afghan refugees are in Iran and 97 percent of them live in urban areas while in other countries, people with similar status are held in camps or special centers.

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