Iranian daily: Govt. ‘paying ransom’ in face of ‘bullying’ Taliban

A newspaper has come down heavily on the Iranian government for its “paradoxical policies” of not recognizing the caretaker administration in neighboring Afghanistan and yet hosting a top-level Taliban delegation.

The barbed words by Jomhouri-e Eslami came in an article on Monday, a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian received acting deputy prime minister for economic affairs of the Taliban government Abdul Ghani Baradar at the ahead of a 30-member delegation in the Iranian capital Tehran.

The daily also said failing to discuss the standoff between Iran and the Taliban administration on the water rights from the Hirmand River in the meeting, while a representative of the Afghan energy ministry was on the delegation, raised eyebrows.

Jomhouri-e Eslami wrote “it is very strange and regrettable” that the Iranian government officially hosted the delegation and started a new phase of interaction with the self-styled Taliban administration before it acknowledges Iran’s share of water from Hirmand.

“It definitely is not in our national interest to give so many privileges to a group that is not willing to gain legitimacy by the popular vote inside their country and acts like a bully in its foreign relations over Iran’s legal rights,” the daily censured.

Two years after taking over in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal, the Taliban are consolidating their power in the country even as they remain shunned by most of the world, with the exception of a few countries like China.

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