Photo: Fars News

Iranian state newspaper calls for change of policy toward the Taliban

The Iranian newspaper Jomhouri-e Eslami (Islamic Republic) has demanded that the Iranian government rectify its decision to hand over the Afghanistan embassy in Tehran to the Taliban, characterising it as a “mistake” that warrants correction in order to exert pressure on the group.

In an editorial (in Persian), the newspaper emphasises the need for an active approach to safeguard Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River, stating that “passive measures have always proven ineffective.” However, the editorial clarifies that an “active encounter” does not equate to military confrontation or engagement in conflict.

Instead, the editorial argues that the term “warning” employed by the Iranian President and the notion of applying “pressure” as expressed by the country’s foreign minister indicate a shift toward deterrent political methods aimed at preventing the Taliban from engaging in arbitrary behavior, bullying, and disregarding the law.

The editorial further asserts that resorting to the excuse of water scarcity is a tactic employed by the Taliban to evade their obligations, quoting experts as saying that available information and satellite imagery have debunked this claim as false.

According to the editorial, over the past two years, the Taliban’s conduct across various domains has indicated their intention to embroil Iran in a conflict. “The mission of this terrorist group, acting on behalf of the United States, is to sow insecurity in the region and draw the Islamic Republic of Iran into a military confrontation.”

The editorial states that the Iranian authorities should approach the Taliban’s latest conspiracy cautiously and rectify past miscalculations in their interaction with the group. It suggests that by leveraging its political influence, the Iranian government possesses the capability to compel the Taliban to retreat and even acquiesce to Iran’s reasonable demands.

The article posits that “rectifying the mistake of handing over the Afghanistan embassy in Tehran to the Taliban” exemplifies these political levers. By relinquishing the policy of appeasing the Taliban in all spheres, Iran can effectively compel this arbitrary group to yield without resorting to military conflict.

In recent days, Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River have emerged as a contentious topic. Iranian authorities have issued warnings to the Taliban, urging them to honour Iran’s water rights. In response, the Taliban has maintained their commitment to the 1973 treaty while attributing the lack of water to prevailing drought conditions.