US-Afghan Security Agreement Brings Negative Consequences for Region

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the bilateral security agreement between the US and Afghanistan will have negative consequences for the region if signed.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Iran does not believe the security deal would benefit the Afghan government and nation in the long term.

Afkham expressed hope that any decision with regards to the agreement would take into consideration the interests of the Afghan nation.

The Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) allows the US to keep thousands of its troops in Afghanistan beyond the original 2014 withdrawal date. It will also grant legal immunity to those American soldiers who remain in Afghanistan.

On the recent Geneva agreement between Iran and six major powers and discrepancies in reports by some media outlets, Afkham said that what was agreed to in Geneva is the content of the Joint Action Plan, which has been published and publicly available, and not what is stated in the US-proclaimed “fact sheet.”

“The fact sheet is the American interpretation of the Geneva agreements,” Afkham said. “What is clear and has been agreed to by all sides is the text of the Joint Action Plan, which has been drafted in four pages and was formally published hours after announcing the agreement and is currently available on the [official web] site of the European Union.”

She further added that Iran’s Foreign Ministry has also prepared an “official and accurate translation” of the agreement that is available for review on the official site of the ministry.

The Iranian official went on to announce that expert negotiations between Iran and the six powers are due to be held on December 9-10 in Vienna in the presence of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) managers, who will act as observers during the talks.

Afkham also pointed to the recent official visits to three countries of Kuwait, Oman and Qatar by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying a “new shape of cooperation” must be established to improve peace and stability in the region.

Reiterating that the establishment of good neighborly relations is “our priority,” she said Iran is determined to open a new chapter in its ties with its neighbors.

Pointing to the important talks and the agreements reached between Zarif and the officials of the three states in political, economic and consular spheres, she said “our approach is to enhance stability and security in the region and we believe such improved stability requires constructive interaction with our neighbors.”

Iran Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham also said the European Union decision to maintain sanctions against Iranian firms is a “one-sided and politically-motivated” move which lacks necessary legal basis.

“This move is questionable and surprising, particularly considering the Geneva negotiations and joint efforts made to take the first steps towards its implementation,” Afkham added.

“We strongly reject this issue and recommend the European Union to align itself with the Geneva deal and tread the path of strengthening mutual confidence,” the Iranian spokesperson stated.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman has also condemned the desecration of holy Christian sites in Syria by terrorist groups and the abduction of a group of nuns by militants in the Syrian town of Ma'loula.

“Certainly this act was taken with the aim of fueling the sedition in Syria and [differences] between followers of divine religions who have been living side by side in peace for centuries,” Marzieh Afkham said.

Afkham called for an unconditional release of 12 Syrian and Lebanese nuns who were kidnapped on Monday from a Greek Orthodox convent in Ma'loula by foreign-backed militants, including members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

The Iranian official also called on regional and international organizations to immediately take action in accordance with their humanitarian and legal obligations and prevent further acts of violence against civilians in Syria.

The militants fighting against the Syrian government had attacked Ma'loula, which is regarded as a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria, early in September. However, they were pushed out of the town by Syrian troops.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has also condemned the latest assassination of senior commander of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, Hassan Hawlo al-Lakkis, outside his home south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

“Given the prominent role of this …martyr in the defeats suffered by the Zionist regime [of Israel] against the Islamic resistance [movement], the Zionists regime definitely bears the full responsibility for this criminal and terrorist act,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said.

She also offered Iran’s sincere condolences to Lakkis’s family and his comrades on the killing of the top Hezbollah commander.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman has also voiced concern over the recent unrest in Thailand, urging all parties to the conflict to peacefully resolve their differences.

Marzieh Afkham expressed hope that the warring sides would refrain from tension and violence, and put an end to the ongoing turmoil through “peaceful means.”

”Thailand is a key country in East Asia and a member of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and tranquility and stability in that country is important for that region,” said the spokeswoman.

Iranian Foreign Ministry has also condemned the deadly terrorist attack on the headquarters of Yemen’s Defense Ministry in the center of the capital, Sana’a.

Such indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which are aimed at creating insecurity, and instability and hampering the ongoing political process in the country, cannot undermine the Yemeni nation’s will to achieve their legitimate demands, said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham in a statement.

The Iranian diplomat further said, “We are sure that, through solidarity, the prudent Yemeni scholars, elites, [political] parties and people will not allow the ill-wishers of this country to achieve their evil goals.”