Iran Concerned at Afghan-US Strategic Ties
KABUL - Tehran has been given for perusal a draft agreement on swapping prisoners, the deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Iran is concerned about strategic cooperation between Afghanistan and the United States, but Kabul desires friendly relations with all neighboring countries, an official said.
Lodin said he told Iranian officials that the draft agreement -- based on regional peace and Afghanistan's core interests -- posed no threat to regional countries. However, the deputy minister did not elaborate on Iran's concerns.
President Karzai has identified peace and security as a top priority in US-Afghan relations. The president says a Loya Jirga will convene in three months to debate and approve the deal.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs delegation, which returned Wednesday from a two-day visit to Tehran, agreed with Iranian authorities on inking an accord, Javed Ludin, told reporters in Kabul.
Resolving problems of Afghan refugees in the neighboring country was a key objective of the visit, he said, adding Iran had promised to sign the agreement after studying the draft.
This draft agreement would address concerns regarding the Afghan refugees in Iranian jails, the deputy minister said. Languishing in that country are about 5,000 Afghan prisoners, 280 of them sentenced to death.
Ludin said the number of prisoners, based on two years old statistics, changed almost daily.
Iran also promised support for the Afghan government's the peace initiative, he said, adding trade issues also came under discussion. The two sides pledged to remove obstacles in this regard.
"The Iranian government has promised issuing Afghan citizens would be issued visas without being asked about their travel procedures, purpose and routes," he continued. The neighbors agreed to combat human trafficking, drug smuggling and organized crime.More than a million registered Afghan refugees are currently living in Iran, according to the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees.