Tabnak – Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe on Wednesday for high-level talks with the Tajik officials. The visit, came in one of the worst periods of Tehran-Dushanbe relations, could be regarded as an effort to mend the bilateral ties.
'Zarif has been invited officially by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan officials,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said earlier.
'Iranian foreign minister is scheduled to hold meetings with Tajik and Uzbek officials and is also to attend International Conference on Security and Sustainable Development in Central Asia,' he added.
The conference is to be held with the attendance of international and regional dignitaries in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Zarif will fly to Samarkand from Dushanbe after his visit to Tajikistan.
In his most important official meeting in Dushanbe, Zarif held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. Prior to the visit, Zarif held talks with his Tajik counterpart Sirodjidin Mukhridinovich Aslov. During the meeting, Zarif and Aslov discussed issues of mutual interest.
The Iranian top diplomat’s visit to Tajikistan is the first of its kind in the past couple of years. Relations between the two countries took a nosedive in late December 2015 on the issue of the Islamic Movement of Tajikistan.
While the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) was considered by the Tajik government as a banned party, its leader Muhiddin Kabiri, who lives in exile, was invited to an international conference in Tehran, and this outraged the Central Asian state.
Tajik authorities claimed despite the fact that Mohiddin Kabiri was accused of organizing riots in September 2015, Iran invited him to the International Conference of Islamic Unity while he was seated next to the head of Tajikistan’s state-backed Council of Islamic Ulema and other members of the official delegation from Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, some observers believe that the tension between the two countries goes back to earlier times and is in connection with the assets of Babak Zanjani, the Iranian billionaire who is in jail and had an international financial empire, part of it in Tajikistan.
There has been no serious bilateral diplomatic engagements within the past two years, but Zarif’s visit to Dushanbe is believed to be a serious step to mend Iran-Tajikistan ties. It is important also considering that the Tajik officials has during the recent months accused Iran of plotting terrorist acts in Tajikistan.
Zarif will fly to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from Dushanbe after his visit to Tajikistan. He is slated to attend International Conference on Security and Sustainable Development in Central Asia to be held in Samarkand. The conference is to be held with the attendance of international and regional dignitaries.