Tehran, Kabul Set to Cooperate on Drugs, Terrorism

Tehran, Kabul Set to  Cooperate on Drugs, Terrorism Tehran, Kabul Set to  Cooperate on Drugs, Terrorism

Iran and Afghanistan are determined to have "intelligence" and "operational" cooperation in the campaign against terrorism and illicit drug smuggling, President Hassan Rouhani said in a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart in Tehran on Sunday.  

The production of drugs has unfortunately been on the rise year by year, he said, adding, "(Regional states) need to make efforts to prevent drug smuggling from rising and then seek to find a final solution for the issue of drugs in the region."    

Rouhani urged the two sides to help each other as well as other countries in the region, saying, "Current regional problems are not limited to a single country and are gradually spreading across the region, so we need each other's help to solve regional problems."

On the fight against drug smuggling, the president said he has proposed "two types of measures."     

"The first is to control, decrease and restrain drug production through intelligence cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan," he said.

The second step is "introducing alternative crops in Afghanistan, in view of the availability of land and water as well as its hard-working workforce." Rouhani said Iran's Ministry of Agriculture Jihad is ready to cooperate with Afghanistan in this field.

Referring to bilateral ties, Rouhani said Iran can provide a transit route for Afghanistan's products, including minerals, to other countries in the long run.  

On the current crisis in Yemen, Rouhani urged all regional countries to make efforts toward finding a political solution to end violence and encouraging the Yemeni people to sit at the negotiating table to solve their problems and establish peace and stability.

Asked about Afghan refugees residing in Iran, Rouhani said arrangements have been made to register all Afghans who want to stay in Iran either for education or work purposes through creating the required frameworks for obtaining legal visas and permits.

  New Chapter

Ashraf Ghani, for his part, called for "a new chapter" in bilateral relations to be opened.

"Opportunities must be seized to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation to transform the region from a focal point of danger to one of stability and peace," he noted.

Pointing to the serious threat of terrorism, Ghani said "barbarism" and "terror" inflict casualties in his country on a daily basis. He emphasized that combating a dangerous phenomenon such as the so-called Islamic State (IS) is not possible without an integrated regional collaboration.

Expressing gratitude to the Iranian government for the arrangements made regarding Afghan refugees, he emphasized that a mechanism should be developed to ensure the gradual return of Afghan refugees.

Ghani, heading a high-ranking delegation, arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning for a two-day visit at the official invitation of President Rouhani and was officially received by him at the Sa'dabad Cultural Complex.

HIGHLIGHT: CAPTION: Iranian and Afghan delegations led by President Rouhani and his Afghan counterpart held a meeting in Tehran on Sunday.