Tehran moves to centre-stage of the Afghan problem with the signing of the strategic agreement between Delhi and Kabul. Generally speaking, Tehran voices opinions rather swiftly on major regional developments but the reportage has been noticeably low-key on Hamid Karzai’s visit to Delhi. Conceivably, Tehran is carefully assessing.
Tehran will factor in that both Islamabad and Delhi would want its support and understanding. Delhi’s economic cooperation with Afghanistan depends critically on the Iranian transit route without which India’s Afghan policy itself is hampered. Tehran knows it. Tehran also knows that Delhi is manifestly keen lately to revive the verve of India-Iran ties. The high-level attention paid by Delhi
in the round of talks Thursday in North Block to create a new payment mechanism for trade is the latest evidence of it.
But the clincher is where Tehran stands with regard to the Indian decision to warm up the links with the groups belonging to Northern Alliance [NA]. There used to be an Indian-Iranian axis with regard to the NA in the late 1990s, which lasted until the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Indeed, Tehran will want to make sure that Delhi has genuinely purged itself of the affliction of toeing the US regional policies.
Besides, Pakistan has been making robust efforts to boost the political ties with Iran. The tensions in the US-Pakistan relations are a factor, but Tehran also knows that the Pakistani military has time-tested ties with the US. The NYT report on the secret meeting
between the US NSA Thomas Donilon and Pakistani army chief Pervez Kayani last week underscores that the more things appear to change, the more they remain the same in US-Pakistan partnership.
Tehran reports have lent credence to Kabul’s allegation that the murder of Burhanuddin Rabbani was planned in Pakistan. (Rabbani kept close links with Tehran all through.) Even more significant has been the article featured on Thursday in the Tehran Times by the former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan Mohammad Reza Bahrami, who is one of Tehran’s ace hands on the Afghan problem. It squarely puts the blame on Islamabad for the tensions in Afghan-Pakistani relations.
The various nuances put together would suggest that on balance, Tehran would have empathy for the Indian policy toward Afghanistan. Bahrami’s article is here
Posted in Politics.
– October 6, 2011