Iran did not attend the opening ceremony of the peace talks in Doha due to tensions with the U.S., said Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, during an interview with VOA.
“Iran was invited…Sometimes their relations with the United States which [are] under a lot of tension at the moment, those things affect their decisions [of] participating in a conference or not,” Abdullah said in an interview published on Wednesday.
However, despite their absence from the event, Abdullah said that Iran supported the peace process.
He acknowledged that Tehran had “legitimate concerns” and “legitimate interests” in Afghanistan as a neighbour, adding that Iran’s contacts with various Taliban groups could be an opportunity to advance peace efforts.
This comes after Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the U.S.-led approach in Afghanistan was flawed and compromised the rights of the Afghan people and the republic’s values.
“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,” he had said during a webinar.
Later, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad admitted that U.
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S.-Iran relations were getting in the way of Tehran’s cooperation with Afghanistan and invited them for talks with Washington.
The diplomat had slammed Iran for trying to keep the U.S. “entangled… without winning or losing but paying a high price.”
Iran had once again refuted the claims and said they supported peace in Afghanistan.