Iran seeks role in Afghan future

15 October 2001

The US-led attacks on Afghanistan have been roundly condemned by Iranian leaders. However, Tehran has been closely monitoring internal Afghan political developments, and has made clear that it wants its views to be taken into account when it comes to the formation of a new government in Afghanistan.

President Khatami on 9 October called for an immediate end to the air strikes, and a return to political dialogue. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of seeking to further its imperialist goals in the region. Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on 10 October: 'America's long-time goal has been to establish its dominance on oil wells of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. The attack on Afghanistan is an excuse towards this aim.'

Iran has been preparing for a major influx of refugees from western Afghanistan. Aid agencies said that there was little evidence of any mass exodus from Afghanistan in the first week of the conflict, and indeed many Afghans who had previously fled to Iran were returning home because of the prospect of the overthrow of the Taliban regime.

Iran is calling for a broad-based government to be formed in Afghanistan, with the former regime of Burhanuddin Rabbani playing a central role in any future arrangements.

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