Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Iran FM: US would not have chosen ’embarrassing’ Afghanistan withdrawal if it could

Iranian Foreign Minister has dismissed US claims that its withdrawal from Afghanistan had all been planned beforehand. Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Americans would not have opted for such an "embarrassing" pullout if they had other choices.

“You saw how the United States withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years in such a manner. If the US could have withdrawn with any dignity and avoided the embarrassing pullout, it would certainly not choose this option,” Amir Abdollahian told Press TV in an exclusive interview broadcast on Sunday.

Even though Americans claimed backed in September last year that all developments in Afghanistan, from the US military’s withdrawal from the country to the return of the Taliban to power, had been pre-planned, they requested Iran’s cooperation in the end to get through that stage, he noted.

Amir Abdollahian added he has told the caretaker Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, during the latter’s visit to Tehran last month that Tehran would formally recognize the group after the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

“It was the Afghan people’s resistance that forced the US out of the country after 20 years. The same occurred in the previous decades, when the Soviet Union was forced to withdraw from Afghanistan. I call Afghanistan our honorable neighbors, who truly stand against [foreign] domination in the mountains and in the terrains,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

Almost five months after the US-led international coalition hastily abandoned Afghanistan, millions of people in the South Asian country are on the brink of starvation, with no food and no money.

The Taliban’s return to power came as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August last year.

The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7, but their efforts to stabilize the situation have so far been undermined by international sanctions, as banks are running out of cash and civil servants are going unpaid.

‘Iran’s balanced policy open to both East, West’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian underscored that the incumbent Iranian administration has adopted the motto of a balanced foreign policy, which includes being active within itself in parallel with smart interactions.

“It means that a balanced foreign policy accepts both the West and the East. It means that we won’t put all our eggs neither in Beijing’s nor in Moscow’s basket. A balanced foreign policy pays attention to maintaining ties with all the five continents,” he added.

The foreign minister stated it will be possible to have ties with Washington as well “if the Americans show a change in their behavior towards Iran, and prove they want to establish ties with Tehran based on mutual respect and observing mutual rights, something they haven’t done over the past 43 years and did not do even before the victory of the Islamic Revolution.”

“We believe that a balanced foreign policy can best secure the maximum interests of the country and our people,” he continued.

He emphasized that Iran follows the “Look to Asia” approach in the field of foreign policy as the Islamic Republic is a major country in the continent and an important and active actor, and has a distinctive geopolitical, geostrategic, and geo-economic position there.

“Logic dictates that we should not ignore the potentials of a continent to which we belong,” Amir Abdollahian said.

He went on to say that multilateralism can stop the United States’ unilateralist behavior, and that the diversity of actors is the most important issue.

“We will see new coalitions in the future that won’t look like the ones that we are witnessing at the moment. It won’t be the case that the NATO will be the only military actor that’s present and effective in all parts of the world,” Amir Abdollahian added.

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