Iran General NewsUS takes cautious approach to Iran

US takes cautious approach to Iran

-

ImageAFP: The United States maintained Thursday its cautious diplomatic approach to Iran by announcing an international conference on Afghanistan with the Islamic Republic likely to be invited.

ImageBRUSSELS (AFP) — The United States maintained Thursday its cautious diplomatic approach to Iran by announcing an international conference on Afghanistan with the Islamic Republic likely to be invited.

At her first NATO meeting, held in Brussels, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed a high-level conference to define a better way to foster reconstruction and democracy and halt a damaging Taliban-led insurgency.

She said that she hoped the meeting, set for March 31, "could provide an opportunity to reach a common set of principles, perhaps embodied in a chairman's statement, on a common way forward."

She did not say where the meeting would be held, but only that Afghan and Pakistani officials would be invited, with NATO allies, donors, international organisations and "key regional and strategic" nations.

It was only after a remark by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who said that he hoped Iran would be invited, and when questioned that Clinton mentioned the Islamic Republic in public.

"If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbour of Afghanistan," she told reporters, after meeting here with her NATO counterparts.

By declaring that the United States would sit side by side with Iran by the end of the month, Washington is making an important gesture toward Tehran, with whom US President Barack Obama has pledged to engage in dialogue with.

But the meeting will be held under United Nations auspices, which could allow Washington to deny any responsibility should the conference fail, or the invitation be rejected.

"We are in the process of discussing with the UN the possibility that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon could open the conference and that his special representative for Afghanistan Kai Eide could chair the meeting," Clinton said.

To put even more distance between them, the conference venue is likely to be in The Hague or Brussels, according to senior NATO officials.

In December, Iran shunned a similar French-hosted conference, failing to send its envoy to Paris for an event aimed at persuading Afghanistan's neighbours to play a greater role in restoring stability in the war-torn state.

This despite the fact that the Islamic republic is suffering badly from the effects of opium production in Afghanistan, with easily available heroin fuelling a rise in drug use.

Iran, which has close ethnic and religious ties with Afghanistan, has also opposed the Taliban, comprised of Sunni Muslim extremists and backed by Pakistan until the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "Obviously Afghanistan is something that presents a great challenge, not just for our country, but for the rest of the world."

"I would expect that Iran would be invited as a neighbor and that we hope, if they decide to come, that they bring constructive solutions and ideas in working with the international community to address the challenges."

Asked whether Clinton or other US officials would meet directly with Iranian envoys to the conference, Gibbs said it was too far down the road to contemplate.

Since 2007, Washington has put more emphasis on a "comprehensive approach" to international action in Afghanistan, which faces presidential elections in August, combining investment and reform with the use of force.

The idea of involving Iran in those efforts could be a way for the new US administration to ease its way into other thornier dossiers like Tehran's nuclear programme.

But in a sign of its cautiousness, Washington has not hesitated to send strong messages Tehran's way.

On Wednesday, Clinton accused Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of interference by urging Muslims to join the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel.

Latest news

The Untold Story of Iran Regime’s Assassinated Qods Force Commander

On the evening of May 22, IRGC Colonel Hassan Sayad Khodai, one of the senior commanders of the Iranian...

Not Even India Invests in Iran’s Ports

Over the past few years, India has been expanding Iran’s port of Chabahar, seeking to send goods through this...

Khamenei’s Wrong Decisions and Its Poisoning Result

In recent days, many demonstrations have taken place across Iran, protesting the Iranian regime’s decisions to increase the price...

Iran: Officials Promote Starving Citizens Under a ‘Great Economic Plan’

Over the past four decades, the Iranian regime has been infamous for making false statements. As a result, citizens...

After Coronavirus, Iran’s Regime Kills People Through Starvation

Multiple protests have recently erupted in various cities across Iran, following the 100 to 400 percent increase in the...

Requirements for a Simple Life in Iran; the Unattainable Dream

It is no exaggeration to say that Iran's economy is in a major freefall. All economic indicators are suggesting...

Must read

Gulf’s crackdown on Hezbollah may endanger Lebanon cash flow

Bloomberg: Officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes...

Iran sends member of terrorist organisation as ambassador to Iraq

Iran Focus London, 16 Jan -  The Iranian Regime...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you