Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Tehran today for a series of meetings with senior Iranian officials. The Iranians are pushing Karzai to continue his refusal to sign the bilateral security pact with the U.S.
A Karzai-appointed Loya Jirga last month approved the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to allow and regulate the presence of some U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the drawdown of U.S. and NATO forces at the end of 2014, but Karzai’s decision not to sign the accord could force the U.S. to exercise the so-called “Zero Option,” a total withdrawal from the country in one year. The Taliban also favor the Zero Option.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted today about close Iran-Afghan ties after meeting with Karzai at Saadabad Palace in Tehran.
“Iran and Afghanistan enjoy fraternal ties. Welfare and security of Afghan people will increase regional co-operation and development,” tweeted Rouhani. (Twitter/@hassanRouhani, 8 December)
Photo credit: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai (foreground) at Saadabad Palace in Tehran. 8 December 2013. (Twitter/@HassanRouhani)