MPs See US-Saudi Hand Behind Tajik Tension

MPs See US-Saudi Hand Behind Tajik TensionMPs See US-Saudi Hand Behind Tajik Tension

Lawmakers believe recent allegations of Iran's interference in the 1990s Tajik civil war are part of a foreign plot aimed at driving a wedge between Iran and its neighbors.

"Hidden hands are trying to stoke tension between Iran and Tajikistan. Those who created the atmosphere of misunderstanding in Tajikistan are seeking to isolate Iran, undermine its overseas interactions and cause security tensions at its borders," Ardeshir Nourian also told ICANA on Monday.

In a documentary broadcast by Tajikistan's television last week, three Tajiks claimed that following training in Iran, they killed politicians and other prominent figures inside Tajikistan during the 1992-97 war and attacked a Russian military base there.

The Iranian Embassy in Tajikistan dismissed the accusations as an attempt to damage bilateral ties.

"The airing of such biased films ... shows that certain circles do not want to see ... stronger friendship between the two countries," it said in a statement on Thursday.

Iran was one of the mediators in the talks that led to a peace deal between the Tajik government and the United Tajik Opposition during Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war.

"The historical memory of the noble Tajik nation clearly recalls the constructive role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in settling Tajikistan's civil war in the 1990s as one of the major architects of peace in the country that hosted the peace talks between the warring sides," the embassy statement said.

Nourian accused Tehran's long-time foe the United States and Saudi Arabia, its main regional rival, of being behind its recent row with Dushanbe.

"Some elements intend to sabotage Iranian-Tajik relations and to this end, the Americans and the Saudi regime are playing an active role in Dushanbe against Iran," the lawmaker said.

  Hollywood-Style Movie

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, another parliamentarian, echoed Nourian's views.

"Huge Saudi investments and suspicious activities of its embassy in Dushanbe were a prelude to the airing of the Saudi-sponsored, Hollywood-style movie in Tajikistan," Hosseini said.

"The triangle of the US, the Saudi regime and the Zionist regime [of Israel] are acting against Iran-Tajikistan ties through a frame-up based on false evidence."

Iran was the first country to recognize Tajikistan's independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.

But ties between the two nations, both Persian-speaking and predominantly Muslim, have been strained since a leader of a banned Tajik Islamist party attended a conference in Tehran in December 2015, which angered the government in Dushanbe.

President Imomali Rakhmon's government accused the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan of being behind a failed coup attempt in September 2015 and later banned the party, jailing some of its leaders and activists. In June, Dushanbe ordered the Iranian Embassy to shut down its economic and cultural offices in Khujand, the second largest city in Tajikistan, without giving a reason for the latest government crackdown against Iranian activities.

Later, several Iranian government organizations and charities were also forced to suspend their activities in the Tajik capital.

During his last year's trip to Saudi Arabia in January, Rahmon received loans and financial aid from the Saudi government in what many believed were Riyadh's attempts to pry a good ally away from Iran.


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