NATO and Iran talk for first time in 30 years

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last week, NATO and Iran had contact for the first time in thirty years, NATO officials stated Thursday. "[An Iranian] diplomat met with Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Martin Erdmann," said chief alliance spokesman James Appathurai. The Iranian embassy in Brussels declined to comment on the visit.

The visit to Brussels by the Iranian diplomat was the first "since the regime of the Shah" collapsed in the Iranian Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

"It was a first informal contact about the subject of Afghanistan, [but] we have not yet programmed a second meeting," said Appathurai. Because of Afghanistan's opium production and the stream of Afghan refugees crossing Iran's border, "the Iranians are interested in possible cooperation on Afghanistan," a NATO official stated.

Earlier on Thursday, Iran said that it would attend the international meeting on Afghanistan next week in The Hague, Netherlands. Appathurai added that "the fact that Iran has accepted to go to the conference in The Hague is good news and constitutes a new step in the regionalisation of the Afghan issue".


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