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    Iran rules out fuel blockades in future

    KABUL (PAN): Iran has assured Afghanistan that there would be no fuel blockade in future, Minister of Finance Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said on Monday.

    On his return from a five-day visit to the neighbouring country, Zakhilwal told journalists in Kabul that the neighbouring country had promised uninterrupted fuel shipments to Afghanistan.

    Led by Zakhilwal, a 20-member Afghan delegation, including officials from the ministries of finance, economy and commerce and industries, also met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Cabinet ministers.

    After two months of a blockade, Iran agreed to ensure proper fuel prices for Afghan traders, the minister said. No restrictions would be imposed on Afghan businessmen, he added.

    Vehicles carrying 75,000 tonnes of fuel, which have been stranded for the past two months on the Iranian side of the border, would soon cross into Afghanistan, he continued.

    The Iranian president promised that about 40,000 Afghan refugee children living in that country would be allowed to study in schools, a concession that they were refused in the past, Zakhilwal said.

    Ahmadinejad also agreed to allow establishment of Afghan banks' branches in Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad and Bandar Abbas cities of that country.

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