Tehran not to recognize Taliban officially, yet calls for release of frozen Afghan funds

Following the meeting with a Taliban delegation held on Monday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the visit did not mean official recognition and called for the release of frozen Afghan assets.

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The Taliban-ruled interim Afghan government’s foreign minister and his accompanying delegation paid a visit on Monday to Iran to come together with the Iranian Foreign Minister. The meeting between the Taliban’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was first of its kind since the group took control of Afghanistan.

According to local media, the Iranian top diplomat said, “The assets of Afghanistan blocked by America… should be used for humanitarian purposes and improvement of the living conditions in Afghanistan.”

The US administration and some of its Western allies blocked Afghan central bank assets held abroad and imposed sanctions on Taliban members.

“The fighting of the brave Afghan nation has shown that no foreign power can occupy Afghanistan and rule there,” Amir-Abdollahian added.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson underlined that the visit did not mean official recognition of the Taliban-led administration by Tehran.

Defining the meeting with the Taliban delegation as “positive,” Saeed Khatibzadeh noted that his country is “not at the point of officially recognizing the Taliban.”

“The current condition of Afghanistan is a major concern for the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the visit of the Afghan delegation was within the framework of these concerns,” Khatibzadeh said during the press conference held following the talks on Monday.

Since the Taliban established its administration in Afghanistan, Iran has stipulated the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul for the official recognition of the Taliban regime.

The two sides have engaged in talks through Iran’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi. The special envoy has reportedly made several visits to Afghanistan in recent months.

Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi, on the other hand, stated that Muttaqi also came together with Ahmad Massoud, leader of the Afghan National Resistance Front (NRF), who is exiled.

According to the spokesperson, the Taliban had assured Massoud and other resistance leaders that they could return to Afghanistan “without friction,” according to the spokesperson.

Karimi did not provide further details regarding the meeting.

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