Speaking in an exclusive interview with IRNA, Saikal elaborated on Iran’s role in hosting millions of Afghan nationals, saying over the last 40 years, Iran has been hosting millions of Afghan citizens as immigrants and some others traveled to Iran illegally.
Despite immigration problems and homesickness, some of Afghan educated immigrants and entrepreneurs returned to Afghanistan and are giving good services in various sectors.
Basically, large high percentage of Afghan nationals have immigrated to Iran due to insecurity, poverty and unemployment.
He noted that over the last few years Afghanistan has tried to promote relations with Iran to strategic level and comprehensive agreements.
He pointed to regional connections specially transit, infrastructure (railway, airways, energy and optical fiber), studies on exports, trade facilities, introducing Afghan products in Iranian markets, attracting foreign investment, participation of private and public sectors in mine, energy and infrastructure and exchanging expert workers as important topics in Iran-Afghanistan bilateral ties.
Afghan diplomat underlined immigration and cooperation in water, border and fighting COVID-19 as other topics between two countries.
Underlining the negative consequences of coronavirus and quarantine on both countries, Saikal stressed the importance of establishing regional cooperation.
He urged both sides to have good negotiations with regard to human rights and other international issues.
Elaborating on the importance of Tehran-Kabul relations, he said Iran is considered as a great neighbor for Afghanistan.
We enjoy religious, language and cultural commonalities with Afghanistan, he reiterated.
Iran and Afghanistan have special strategic position, he said, adding that Iran is the beating heart of the Persian Gulf and a serious player in region and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is also the heart of Asia and the link for Central Asia, South Asia, China and Iran.
Iran has also played positive in reconstructing and developing Afghanistan and has paid a lot for Afghanistan infrastructures especially in energy and transportation field.
Finalizing Herat-Khaf railway and taking advantage of Chabahar port by Afghanistan will create great development in transportation, trade and transit between Iran and Afghanistan, diplomat said.
Earlier on Monday, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanaian underlined developing Iran-Afghanistan economic relations, saying the third section of the Khaf-Herat railway will be inaugurated in autumn.
Implementation of this project will help speed up promoting economic cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan, he added.
Referring to recent accidents happened for Afghan refugees in Iran, he urged both sides to hold joint inquiry to determine culpability in the human tragedy.
He noted that the best solution for Afghan refugees in Iran would be trying to establish sustainable peace and better conditions in Afghanistan.
Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand said that human tragedy in Harirud caused by cross border infringements between Iran and Afghanistan.
Some media have released a video in which a person claimed that some people who entered Iran illegally were arrested and forced them to go into the river by the Iranian border guards.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that the tragedy for Afghan nationals happened inside Afghanistan soil and Iranian border guards rejected such an accident in Iran.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry in a message stressed Iran’s strong relations with Afghanistan, saying the US allegations against Iran with regard to accident in Herat is a bitter joke.
“What happened to Afghan nationals in Herat is tragic & unrelated to, but the US regime’s allegations against Iran is a ‘bitter joke’,” it added.
“The US regime is a war criminal in Afghanistan & state sponsor of terrorism across the world,” Foreign Ministry noted.
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