Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the U.S.-led approach in Afghanistan is flawed and not in the interest of the people or the democratic process in the country.
Speaking in a webinar with CNN host Fareed Zakaria for a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) talk on Monday, Zarif said that Iran had always played a leading role in getting the current democratic government in Afghanistan.
The minister pointed that while the U.S.’ efforts to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan was for the better, it had serious consequence.
“We believe that there were major flaws in the attempt by the United States in the recent process. I believe the United States engaged in an all-out effort to simply get out of Afghanistan – which is good, but it should not be at the expense of the people of Afghanistan and at the expense of the democratic process in Afghanistan, at expense of the achievements of the international community and the Afghan people over the past 20 years.”
Iran remains pessimistic about the U.S.-led political settlement in Afghanistan and that is why they chose not to participate, Zarif said.
“I think for the United States the ultimate objective was to simply find a way to leave Afghanistan. It did not have to impose all of that on Afghanistan and on the region. So we are very pessimistic about the process that the United States led, and that is why we did not participate in that process.”
However, they do support an intra-Afghan peace dialogue that preserves the values of the country.
“We support any and all intra-Afghan dialogue. We believe that should be in keeping with the democratic achievements of the people of Afghanistan, with the participation of all parties including the Taliban,” the foreign minister said.
He mentioned what he wanted to see in a post-peace Afghanistan.
“We do not believe that it should be ruled by one party, but it should be with the participation of all parties. We believe that the future of Afghanistan should be decided by all Afghans without foreign interference and regional countries should play a role in assisting, in facilitating and not dictating.”
He concluded by saying that he did not believe in the efforts made by the U.S. and by its Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.
“I think the United States has not played a positive role. We indicated that since Dr. Khalilzad started his endeavours. We said that it was on the wrong footing, that it was not based on assumptions and principles that would serve long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
The Iranian minister said they were closely observing the progress in Doha.
“They are, unfortunately, at a stalemate. We will do whatever we can in order to help that process. But the damage that has been done by the United States, by this process, is very difficult to undo.”
He also said that the region was concerned about the rise of Daesh (Islamic State) in Afghanistan and there has been cooperation in order to fight the militants.