0223 GMT August 18, 2022
Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said if the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had allowed the Afghans, they would have built strong houses for themselves.
He made the remarks in an address to reporters at the end of his visit to the northeastern Iranian province of North Khorasan on Thursday evening reacting to the adverse impacts of years of occupation and interference by the United States and NATO on Afghanistan’s development and the heavy casualties of a Wednesday earthquake in the eastern part of the country, president.ir reported.
Expressing condolences to the Afghan government and people over the lives lost in the deadly quake, Raeisi said the people of Afghanistan are “truly oppressed”.
The Iranian president noted that the Islamic Republic has always been among the first countries to provide humanitarian assistance to other states during disasters.
He urged the Iranian provinces along the common border with Afghanistan to provide the Afghan people with any kind of assistance they can.
In a message on the same day, Raeisi gave the assurance that Iran will stand by its neighbor in this “huge affliction”, sympathizing and condoling with the Afghan people and government over the tragic disaster.
He noted that he has ordered the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to assist at full capacity the disaster-stricken people in Afghanistan.
The Iranian president deeply regretted that years of U.S. occupation have prevented of urban and rural development in Afghanistan, which, per se, has made it difficult at present to carry out rescue and relief operations in the country.
In the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that jolted parts of Afghanistan including the capital city Kabul early Wednesday, more than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead and over 1,500 others injured in Paktika and the neighboring Khost provinces.
Under the pretext of combating terrorism, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, starting nearly two decades of occupation.
Twenty years after that, the Afghans find their country ripped apart by the protracted war, being heirs to a destroyed economy and wrecked political structure.
Although the war ended with a chaotic and irresponsible U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, its knock-on impact continues to take its toll on the country as it infrastructure remains regrettably underdeveloped.
On Thursday, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said the Islamic Republic is standing by the people of Afghanistan under the present tough situation and has, so far, sent two first aid supplies to the quake-hit areas in the country on board two cargo planes, according to IRNA.
Making the remarks in an address to a UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, Majid Takht-Ravanchi added the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul, which would represent all ethnic and political groups, is quite evident.
He regretted that this comes as despite the frequent international requests, the caretaker government of Taliban has so far failed to make considerable efforts to guarantee the real ethnic and political inclusiveness of the governance system in the country, which is a prerequisite and vital element for gaining international recognition.
The envoy said Iran, as Afghanistan’s neighbor, has been standing by the country’s people using all its capacities and resources to help it overcome the challenges it has been facing over the past four decades.
He added despite having been host to millions of Afghan refugees over the past 40 years, Iran has received least international aid in this regard.
Takht-Ravanchi stressed that the United States must release Afghanistan’s frozen assets as they belong to the country’s people.
In remarks on the same day, Zahra Ershadi, the deputy permanent representative of Iran to the UN, also urged the United States to release Afghan people’s assets.
She said some countries’ move to freeze Afghanistan’s assets is against humanitarian and international law.