President Rouhani slams foreign forces over regional problems
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has denounced the presence of foreign forces in the region as the root cause of increasing problems in the Middle East.
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"The presence of foreign forces in any regional country will only serve to create problems," Iran's president said in a meeting with new Afghan Ambassador to Tehran Abdulghafour Lival on Sunday.
"We are confident that the US military presence in Afghanistan has not and will not benefit security of the country and Afghan people," the Iranian president said, emphasizing that the US only seeks to achieve its own goals by spreading insecurity in the region.
The Islamic Republic endorses Afghanistan's sovereignty, unity and integrity and is always ready to help the country boost its stability, Rouhani said.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan under the guise of a war on terror to topple the very Taliban militants they are now negotiating with. Some 18 years on, terrorism rages on across the country chiefly by the Taliban.
Some US troops in Afghanistan are engaged in what Washington has described as “counterterrorism operations” against radical militant groups.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani pointed to peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, saying that any peace without taking into account the views of the Afghan people and their representatives would be meaningless and certainly would not last.
The Taliban, which now controls or has influence in about half of Afghanistan’s territory, has held several rounds of direct talks with US officials in the Qatari capital, Doha, since October 2018. The militants say they do not recognize the government in Kabul.
About 20,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, are based in Afghanistan. The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan is a condition set by the Taliban to extend the talks.
The Iranian president also condemned recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and expressed the Islamic Republic's determination to further enhance cordial relations with the Afghan people and government.
A bomb attack targeting a wedding in the Afghan capital of Kabul left at least 63 people dead and more than 180 others injured in the late hours of Saturday.
Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi confirmed the casualties and said the bomb attack was carried out at a wedding hall in the west of Kabul late Saturday.
The Afghan ambassador, who submitted his credentials to the Iranian president, said his country attaches importance to bolstering cooperation with Iran.
Lival emphasized that Kabul would never allow any country to use its territory against Tehran.
Also on Sunday, Rouhani met with the newly-appointed Italian Ambassador to Tehran Giuseppe Perrone.
Rouhani hailed Iran's amicable ties with Italy and said further expansion of economic relations would be beneficial to both countries.
The Iranian president added that Italy has been Iran's number-one trade partner of many long years.
He emphasized that Tehran will strengthen ties with Rome without being affected by the unilateral and illegal sanctions imposed by Washington.
Rouhani called on the two countries' officials to take concrete steps to increase cooperation and investment in order to serve joint interests.