Officials from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have taken over official duties in the Afghan Embassy in Tehran – making Iran the latest country to accept IEA-appointed diplomats while still not officially recognising their 18-month-old government.
The Afghan Foreign Ministry said that it had dispatched a seven-member team of “experienced diplomats, led by a newly appointed chargé d’affaires” to the Iranian capital to formally assume responsibility for Afghanistan’s diplomatic mission there.
The statement described the development as an “important and cooperative step” in bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Iran.
“We believe that with the new appointments, we would witness transparency in the affairs of the embassy as well as expanded relations in various fields between the two Muslim and brotherly countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said.
Iran described the development as an internal issue.
“The issue of handing over and transformation of the Afghan embassy in Tehran is an internal matter (related to Afghanistan) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran has not entered into the matter by any means,” an official statement said.
“Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received any document or equipment or any other object belonging to the Afghan Embassy in Tehran,” it added.
Iran joins several neighbouring and regional countries to have allowed the IEA to appoint staff and manage Afghan diplomatic missions. These include Pakistan, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
Dozens of Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions around the world are open for business but in most cases the host nations have either refused to hand them over to the IEA, or Afghan diplomats working there are reportedly unwilling to work with the new Kabul administration.
Iran and Afghanistan share many cultural ties. For example, many Afghans speak Persian, as Dari (an eastern dialect of Persian) is one of the official languages of Afghanistan, and many also celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. There are also millions of Afghan refugees in Iran.
However, relations between Iran and Afghanistan were strained during the first Islamic Emirate in the 90s. But since the second Islamic Emirate was formed in 2021 Iran and Kabul have opened trade and other commercial relations.
No nation has yet recognised the IAE since they overthrew the U.S.-led NATO occupation after almost 20 years of war.
Western governments demand that the IEA “respect human rights,” give women access to education and work and form an inclusive government representing all groups in Afghanistan.