US: Iran Welcome at Afghan Talks

Tehran, who 'has a role to play,' sends representative to meeting
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2010 12:01 PM CDT
US: Iran Welcome at Afghan Talks
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, shakes hands with his counterparts from Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon, right, and Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 5, 2010.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iran sent a representative to an international pow-wow on the Afghan war today, and the US says it didn’t mind one bit. “We were asked whether we had any problems with that and we said 'No,’” Richard Holbrooke tells Reuters. “We recognize 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. So for the United States there is no problem with their presence.”

Italy’s special representative to Afghanistan mirrored those sentiments. “Iran is too important to be excluded,” he said. A total of 46 countries attended the meeting, including, for the first time, a representative from the Organization of the Islamic Conference, according to the AFP. "It's another indication that the international effort to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan ... is not a clash of civilizations at all,” Holbrooke said. (More Richard Holbrooke stories.)

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