Harirud incident result of illegal traffic on Iranian-Afghan border: deputy FM

TEHRAN, Jun. 07 (MNA) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharvand described the Harirud incident as the result of illegal traffic on the Iranian-Afghan border.

“Iran's strategy on Afghanistan is to help this country to find political solutions to achieve peace and stability,” said Baharvand on Sunday referring to his visit to Afghanistan in late May.

Stating that Afghanistan is an important neighbor for the Islamic Republic of Iran, he added, “Iran shares about 1,000 kilometers of borders with Afghanistan, and as we know any insecurity and instability in Afghanistan will affect security in Iran’s border as well.”

Stating that the Harirud incident is the result of illegal traffic on the Iranian-Afghan border, the Iranian diplomat said, “Due to Afghanistan's armed struggle against terrorism, Afghanistan has closed its border checkpoints. Therefore there is no control over the country’s border. This causes people to get caught by traffickers and face a lot of problems.”

Referring to the overflown of Harirud in the spring, he noted, “Smuggling groups, especially those who are active for transportation of people to Iran, will transfer people through difficult and impassable routes, including Harirud. Therefore, such incidents may occur.”

“Iran's investigation does not show the Harirud incident was the result of the intervention of Iranian border guards,” he added, saying, “We did not find any evidence that this incident happened on Iran’s border. Annually, 500,000 illegal transportations occur through the Afghan-Iranian border and Iranian border guards deal with violators in a specific procedure. They behave based on order and law.”

“In the most difficult circumstances, Iran's border guards are defending the country's borders against human and drug trafficking bands, terrorism and illegal traffic, and many other crimes,” he noted, adding, “Therefore, we respect the border guards. However, we have announced to the Afghan side, regardless of Iran's investigations, if there is any evidence about the Harirud incident, please give it to us for more investigation.”

Stating that during the recent visit of the Iranian delegation to Kabul, some documents, photos, and interviews were handed over to the Iranian side, Baharvand said, “These documents are important for us and they have been handed to competent authorities for more investigation.”

Referring to the recent agreement reached with the Afghan side, the Iranian diplomat said, “It was agreed to set up a joint border commission between the two countries to address problems related to border issues and traffic under the 1335 bilateral agreement.”

“The fight against human and drug trafficking, the fight against terrorism and the prevention of illegal trafficking were highlighted by both sides,” he added

On May 1, some claims surfaced in media reports that Iranian border guards had tortured and thrown as many as 57 Afghans into the Hari River (Harirud) in western Herat province to prevent their illegal entry into Iran. The Khaama Press News Agency said at least 23 of them drowned in Harirud.

Tehran has roundly rejected the claims, saying the incident took place on the Afghan side of the border and Iranian forces had no role in the incident.

Iran has extensive evidence that the incident has not happened on its borders. According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, the confirmed reports received from the border guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran show that such an incident has not occurred on the mentioned date and location. He noted that Iran has not been associated with Afghan migrants and the claims of transferring people to camps or inhumane treatment are completely baseless. He added that due to weather conditions of the region, not a single Afghan citizen entered the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran on that date.

ZZ/IRN 83812547

News Code 159512

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