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Iran Joins International Talks on Afghanistan

At the same time that the Obama Administration has put sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment capability, the BBC reports that the Islamic Republic is engaging in high-level talks on the future of Afghanistan:

Iran has for the first time taken part in high-level discussions on Afghanistan after the US said it had “no problem” with its participation.

An Iranian representative joined the international “contact group” – which brings together the Afghan government, dozens of countries, Nato, the EU and UN – for the talks in Rome […]

“We recognise that Iran, with its long, almost completely open border with Afghanistan and with a huge drug problem… has a role to play in the peaceful settlement of this situation in Afghanistan,” Richard Holbrooke – the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan – told a news conference.

“So for the United States there is no problem with their presence.”

Holbrooke continued that this would have no bearing on the issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. But it’s certainly a bit schizophrenic to see them at the negotiating table on Afghanistan.

Ultimately, this is a positive development, allowing Iran to join the community of nations in a matter vital to their regional interests. It’s how mature countries should act. You negotiate with your enemies, not your friends.

And it’s perhaps another sign that US officials are looking for a credible way out of the war, which has gone on for nearly a decade.

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David Dayen

David Dayen