Iran opposes permanent American bases
AIBAK (PAN): By establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan, the United States wants to use the Central Asian nation for achieving its objectives in the region, an Iranian diplomat said on Thursday.
Afghanistan's neighbours have their concerns and reservations about the permanent US military presence in the country, said the Iranian consul general in Mazar-i-Sharif, Syed Zeenati.
After a meeting with Samangan Governor Khairullah Anosh, the consul general told Pajhwok Afghan News: "Iran's stance on the issue (US bases in Afghanistan) remains crystal clear."
The people of countries with Western bases could not derive any material or cultural benefits from those centres, Zeenati said, adding Americans should tell Afghans what their actual goals were.
In the absence of clarity on the sensitive question, the consul general reiterated, Tehran was opposed to the idea. He saw no need for establishing such bases in Afghanistan.
The objective behind his visit to Samangan was to assess the economic situation in the province. He also promised scholarships for Afghan students and implementation of some projects in the province.
A day earlier, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister told reporters in Kabul that Iran was concerned about a strategic cooperation deal between Afghanistan and the US.
On his return from a two-day visit to Tehran, Javed Lodin said he had been directed by President Hamid Karzai to discuss the proposed strategic cooperation deal with Iranian authorities.
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.
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