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Pompeo says Iran undermining Afghanistan peace process

Tehran undermines 'the peace process by continuing its long global effort to support militant groups,' US top diplomat says

Servet Gunerigok   | 07.01.2020
Pompeo says Iran undermining Afghanistan peace process

WASHINGTON

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that Iran is working to harm the peace process in Afghanistan. 

Speaking at a news conference at the State Department, the U.S. top diplomat accused Tehran of refusing to attend to a regional and global consensus for peace in the war-weary country.

Tehran "is, in fact, today actively working to undermine the peace process by continuing its long global effort to support militant groups there," said Pompeo, adding that Iran has a "relationship" with Taliban and other militant groups in the country.

"Most people know about Iran’s proxy networks in the Arab world, but the regime also has a relationship with the Taliban and related groups. The Taliban’s entanglement in Iran’s dirty work will only harm the Afghanistan peace process," Pompeo added.

He did not provided evidence on the nature of alleged "dirty work."

U.S.-Taliban negotiations resumed in early December in the Qatari capital of Doha to reduce violence and lay the groundwork for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Iran FM's claim

Pompeo also rejected a claim by his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, that top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission when he was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

"Anybody here believe that?" Pompeo asked reporters during his briefing. "Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qasem Soleimani, had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?".

"We know that wasn't true," said Pompeo.

Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Friday.

His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which rose in 2018 after U.S. President Donald Trump chose to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

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