Shamkhani: During My Visit to Kabul, US Officials Asked to Hold Talks

Shamkhani: During My Visit to Kabul, US Officials Asked to Hold Talks

Tuesday, 8 January, 2019 - 13:00
Ali Shamkhani, Iran's Supreme National Security Council Director, September 30, 2014. (File Photo: Reuters)
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
US officials approached Iran’s supreme leader aide during a December visit to Afghanistan to request talks with Tehran, according to Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have increased since May, when President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers and later reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact.

“During my visit to Kabul last month, the Americans... asked to hold talks,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Shamkhani who did not specify what the US side wanted to discuss.

However, a US State Department official denied the report saying it was “not accurate.” The State Department official spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Shamkhani was in Kabul last month for talks with the Taliban “to help curb the security problems in Afghanistan.” He said the Kabul government had known of his talks with the Taliban.

Washington accuses Iran of trying to extend its influence in western Afghanistan by providing military training, financing, and weapons to the Taliban, a charge Tehran denies. Khamenei refused an offer of direct talks made by Trump last year and Iranian officials have said Washington’s crippling sanctions would fail to wreck the economy.

In July, Iranian authorities said Tehran had rejected eight US requests for a meeting between Trump and President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in Sept 2017.

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