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Friday, March 6, 2009

Iran reacts to US invite for Afghan talks

Fri, 06 Mar 2009 19:43:23 GMT | PressTV

The Afghanistan summit comes amid a major stalemate in US military efforts in the war-hit country.
Iran weighs the Obama administration's plans to invite the country to attend an international conference on Afghanistan later this month.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wrapping up a trip to the Middle East and Europe, said Thursday that the Obama administration has plans to invite Tehran to attend a confab on Afghanistan.

"If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbor of Afghanistan," Clinton told reporters in Brussels.

While the move was regarded in the West as a "major overture" and a "dramatic turnaround," it was met with skepticism from some Iranian officials.

"This [invitation] is not a new phenomenon," said the head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, on Friday.

"Washington and Tehran have previously discussed the Afghan security and development in the Bonn conference, during which Iranian officials played a constructive and active role," he said.

The UN-backed Bonn conference helped establish the Afghan government in 2001.

Tehran's contribution to Washington's war against the Taliban terrorists was to such extent that according to former US special envoy to Kabul, James Dobbin, "few countries were as helpful to the United States - in its early involvement in Afghanistan - as Iran."

Former National Security Council official, Flynt Leverett, has also, acknowledged Iran's help in stemming Afghan violence.

"Washington's engagement with Tehran over Afghanistan provided significant and tangible benefits for the American position during the early stages of the war on terror," he said.

Boroujerdi suggested that the Tehran government has yet to see a sign of change in Washington's foreign policy.

"We are still waiting for US President Barack Obama's promises to wipe the slate clean and 'change' Washington's long history of animosity towards Tehran," said Boroujerdi.

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