Amid the constant influx of refugees, the forces of the two countries often clash at the border. However, overall relations between the two sides remain stable and cooperative
Iran has confirmed that Taliban diplomats are stationed at Afghanistan's Embassy in Tehran, but added that the move doesn’t mean official recognition of the group’s interim government. No country has yet recognized the Taliban regime. However, Pakistan, China, Russia, and Turkmenistan have allowed the Taliban officials to take control of their embassies.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, "We will not hand over the embassy to a government that we have not recognized," but added that there was no ban on the entry of Taliban diplomats nor any plan to close the Afghan Embassy, according to a report in AL Monitor.
He justified the move by citing a backlog of consular cases at the Afghan mission and its need to boost staff amid an incessant influx of refugees crossing into Iran via the porous eastern border. Over five million Afghan refugees are living in Iran. Of them, two million crossed the border after August last year following the Taliban takeover.
"Recognition [of the Taliban] is a different path," Khatibzadeh said, adding, "the ruling body in Afghanistan will win recognition if showing responsible action."
Tehran is concerned about the growing number of refugees. And, the reports of mistreatment of Afghans often put the ties under strain.
Iran, which has traditionally supported the country’s Shiite minorities, has repeatedly called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. The Taliban, the country’s de facto rulers, are mostly Sunni Pashtun, an ethnic group that comprises almost 48 percent of the country’s total population.
Amid the constant influx of refugees, the forces of the two countries often clash at the border. However, overall relations between the two sides remain stable and cooperative.
Significantly last year, Iran was among a handful of the countries that kept their embassies open while the Taliban took control of the capital Kabul.
Speaking on the tension at the border, Khatibzadeh expressed "serious concern," saying Iranian border guards have so far treated their Afghan counterparts with "restraint." The Taliban, he added, should avoid construing the Iranian approach as weakness.