Iran closes consulates in Afghanistan citing concerns for the safety of its diplomats

After a series of violent attacks on Iranian consulates across Afghanistan, the Iranian government decided on 12 April to temporarily close all consulates in the country and summon the Taliban government’s chargé d’affaires in Tehran. The attacks came in response to videos and accusations of harassment of Afghan migrants and refugees in Iran.

After the stabbings of three clerics earlier this month in the northern city of Mashhad was blamed on an Afghan migrant deemed illegal by Iranian authorities, the government in Tehran called for caution and asked both Afghans and Iranians to “remain vigilant”. A viral video depicting the severe beating of an Afghan man by Iranian security forces led to a widespread response by both officials and citizens in Afghanistan. The video, whose veracity is still in question, sparked outrage, and a Taliban official told Iranian diplomats to "address the concerns of the people and the government of Afghanistan.” Nevertheless, The meetings between officials did not stop protestors from attacking Iranian consulates.

In the Western Afghan city of Herat, protestors threw rocks at the consulate with chants of “Death to Iran” being heard by reporters. In Kabul, the entrance to the Iranian embassy was set alight and in the Eastern Khost province, a more peaceful protest was held. Security concerns were raised by the Iranian government due to the violence, and authorities ultimately decided to close all consulates to protect the safety of its diplomats. The Director General for South Asia at the Foreign Ministry in Tehran summoned the Taliban’s chargé d’affaires to “strongly protest against the attacks”.

The two countries, which share a border of 900 kilometres, have long tussled over the treatment of Afghan citizens in Iran. Immigrants accuse forces in Iran of xenophobia, discrimination, and mistreatment. Iran on the other hand, says that the fact that they have hosted approximately three million Afghans over the last 40 years should be commended by the international community. Iran is yet to formally recognize the Taliban, referring to it only as the “governing body” of Afghanistan. Relations between the nations have been relatively stable; a clash between Iranian and Taliban forces late last year on the shared border has been the only real flashpoint. The issue was settled with in an agreement, and both sides called the incident a “misunderstanding”.

Sources: CommonSpace.eu with Al-monitor (Washington D.C.), Al Jazeera (Doha), DW (Berlin), and other media agencies
Picture: Protests in Herat (AFP)

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.