03/27/2009, 00.00
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Afghanistan might lead to talks between Tehran and Washington

An international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague on 31 March might be a platform for talks between Iran and the United States. For a US official Afghanistan might be a “very productive area” for discussion. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1979.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran and the United States might find common ground over security in Afghanistan at an international conference on Afghanistan that opens in The Hague on 31 March. The venue might allow the two countries to renew ties, severed following Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the conference in the Dutch capital but there is little chance she could meet Iranian representatives, a State Department said.

Still, the stabilisation of Afghanistan could prove to be good for engagement between the two archenemies, he said.

Iran announced on Thursday it would also attend the Hague conference, but did not say how senior its representatives will be.

Despite the use of cautious official language, a few signs indicate some possible developments in US-Iranian relations.

US President Barack Obama’s Nowruz video-message to “people and the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” was followed by a statement by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hinting at some possible overture.

“We see Iran as an important player related to Afghanistan. We see this as a very productive area for engagement in the future,” a US official, who asked not to be named, said today on the sidelines of a meeting in Moscow attended by members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, observer nations as well as NATO officials, and others.

A few days ago Lebanese daily al-Liwaa reported that US and Iranian diplomats met in Beirut.

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