A senior political scholar from Russia stressed on Monday that Tehran-Moscow cooperation plays a key role in restoration of stability in Afghanistan.
Speaking exclusively to IRNA, the head of the College of Political Sciences and Sociology of Financial University of Moscow said that the harmony of actions between Iran and Russia and their cooperation are highly significant for stabilizing the present situation in Afghanistan and the entire region, and for preventing further regional crises.
Alexander Shatilova stressed that both Tehran and Moscow had predicted that withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan might lead to the return to the power of the Taliban and the emerging of threats against the region and the entire world.
Iran and Russia had long ago predicted coming back to power of the Taliban after the US forces’ exit from the war-torn country, Shatilova said, adding, "Russia had from the beginning of the crisis begun negotiations with the Taliban to get informed about their ambitious geopolitical intentions."
“I believe the Taliban will under the current circumstances begin settling down the internal affairs in Afghanistan, but in the future, they will surely pose threats against neighboring countries, including probable interfering in the affairs of the Central Asian countries,” said the Russian scholar.
He added that the existence of a majority of Pashtuns among the commanders of the Taliban and their pressure against the Shia minority in Afghanistan are other possible threats that can possibly be prevented through cooperation between Iran and Russia.
“Iran and Russia can, in their formal or informal relations with the Taliban, urge them to decrease the sphere of their influence in the region and block the path for their interference beyond Afghanistan’s borders,” he added.
Professor Shatilova said that the Taliban have now gained power in a country that has very rich mineral resources and a very strategic geographical position.
He further noted that in order to stop the Taliban’s possible future interference in the region, "Iran and Russia must try to establish political and military ties” with them.
Earlier in the day, Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that Tehran will decide on the Taliban’s invitation to attend the inauguration of the new Afghan government based on the group’s actions.
“It is still early to talk about this issue,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, the ministry’s spokesman said at a weekly press conference, when asked to comment on the Taliban’s invitation for attending the new government’s inauguration, and on the possibility of recognizing the Taliban, Press TV wrote.
He stressed that the interim government announced by the Taliban last week is not what Iran and the international community would expect, renewing Tehran's demand for an “inclusive government”.
Golden opportunity for Iran and Russia
Elsewhere in his interview with IRA, the Russian academic commented on the coming to power of a new government in Iran by saying Tehran and Moscow “can further strengthen our relations, as the leaders in both countries favor it".
“Iran and Russia are both sanctioned by the West and I believe, as two regional powers with rich cultures and civilizations, they can in addition to their political, economic and military cooperation move towards strengthening ties in cultural, tourism, and academic fields,” said Professor Shatilova.
He added that he is currently cooperating with the University of Tehran in an academic program, hoping that such moves will further expand in the future.