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Majlis Speaker: Expansion of Ties with Afghanistan our main priority
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reiterated Tehran's support for Afghanistan's development, and added that expanding ties with the neighboring state sets a top priority for Tehran. "Expansion of ties with Afghanistan in all spheres is one of important priorities of Iran's regional policies," Larijani said in a meeting with visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul on Monday. Larijani added that it has been the core policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide assistance to bring economic development and independence of Afghanistan. Elsewhere, the Iranian official described the presence of foreign forces in the region as the root cause of growth of extremism and terrorism. "Growth of extremism in the region is the outcome of strategic cooperation of international powers and some of their regional allies," he said. "Expansion of extremism in the region is in line with interests of cross-regional powers to keep interference in the affairs of other countries." Larijani further called for regional cooperation and transition of responsibilities to Afghan people for solving Afghan problems. During the meeting, the Afghan official underlined the importance of regional cooperation for security in Afghanistan, and said that Iran's assistance for development and economic progress of Afghanistan has had a leading role in establishment of peace in the country. Iran has always urged for a regional approach towards the settlement of problems in Afghanistan, and called on the Kabul government to pave the way for the withdrawal of the alien forces from the country. Iran blames foreign forces for continued instability in Afghanistan and has called for a complete pullout from the country, which was invaded in 2001.

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