Monday, January 30, 2023

Iran, Tajikistan Discuss Bilateral Issues in Tehran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has held talks with his Tajik counterpart Sirodjidin Mukhriddin in Tehran.

In their Saturday meeting in Tehran, Mukhriddin and Zarif touched upon the political and strategic significance of relations between the two friendly, brotherly, and neighbouring countries.

They also stressed the need to boost mutual cooperation in bilateral, regional and international domains.

High on the agenda of the talks were the enhancement of political, parliamentary and economic relations as well as cooperation between friendship groups of both countries.

The two top diplomats also conferred on promotion of cooperation in water, energy and transportation, holding political and consular consultations, expansion of bilateral and international cultural cooperation, especially within the UNESCO, and countering extremism and terrorism.

Iran was the first country to recognize Tajikistan’s independence in the early 1990s and acted as one of the mediators in talks to end its 1992-97 civil war.

However, ties between the two nations have been strained since a leader of a banned Tajik Islamist party, Islamic Renaissance Party, attended a conference in Tehran in 2015, which angered the government in Dushanbe.

The Emomali Rahmon administration accused the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan of being behind a failed coup attempt in September 2015 and later banned the party, jailing some of its leaders and activists.

In 2017, Tajikistan accused Iran of intervening in the 1990s Tajik civil war, sending assassins and saboteurs into the former Soviet republic, which worsened the situation in the country.

In a documentary broadcast by Tajikistan’s television in 2017, three Tajiks claimed that following training in Iran, they killed politicians and other prominent figures inside Tajikistan during the 1992-97 war and attacked a Russian military base there.

Tehran, however, denies the allegations.

The shuttering of several Iranian centres in the country at the request of Tajik authorities and their decision to slap travel and trade restrictions on citizens and goods from Iran in recent years contributed to the souring in relations.

Another irritant has been the fate of the assets of jailed Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani, whose international business empire once included assets in Tajikistan.

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