Iran's former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Ex-Iran FM Blasts Taliban As Illegitimate Rulers

Tuesday, 03/12/2024

Iran's former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has stated that the Taliban's legitimacy remains in question in spite of their ruling neighboring Afghanistan.

In an interview with Faraz Daily, Zarif said the question of the Taliban's legitimacy in Afghanistan remains a highly debated issue both domestically and internationally. He added that “if Iran remains passive in the face of regional dynamics involving the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan, the matter of Taliban legitimacy could escalate into both an opportunity and a threat for the Islamic Republic.”

He further stated that should the Taliban establish legitimate rule in Afghanistan, Iran would ultimately need to cooperate with its neighbor.

Zarif's remarks come in the wake of his previous welcoming of the Taliban delegation in 2021, where he hailed them expressing solidarity with their fight against "foreign" occupiers.

Tensions persist between Iran and the Taliban, particularly regarding water issues. An Iranian parliamentary delegation's visit to Kabul in August aimed to address concerns about the Taliban's alleged obstruction of the Helmand River flow, affecting Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan region. The Taliban has denied the allegations, exacerbating the water crisis dispute.

In January, the Taliban's foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, visited Iran and advocated for increased economic collaboration. Muttaqi met with economic activists from Iran and Afghanistan, urging Iranian traders to capitalize on opportunities in the Afghan market.

Nevertheless, critics within Iran have raised concerns about the government's open borders policy, speculating about potential hidden agendas. Some suggest that authorities might be facilitating illegal Afghan immigration to address population decline or to strengthen the military by recruiting young Shiite Hazara Afghans.

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