Iran’s First Ever Summit: With Pakistan and Afghanistan

May 25, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Iran’s President Ahmadinejad hosted a three-way summit on Sunday between President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, to discuss mutual regional interests between the three bordering countries.

This is a first of its kind meeting held in Iran that included just leaders from the three countries. Political observers view this meeting as Iran’s attempt to take the lead as a regional power.

At the conclusion of the meeting between the three leaders, the countries signed an agreement, called the Tehran Statement, committing to fight Islamic extremism and to take steps to clamp down on drug smuggling between the countries.

Iran has long detested the drug trade arising out of Afghanistan and this document may serve to at least open up dialogue about the subject. Iran is also no friend to the Taliban, which may prove helpful to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they battle a resurgence of Taliban sponsored Islamic extremism within their borders.

President Ahmadinejad in his statements praised the success of the meeting in opening up a dialogue for cooperation between the three countries. Ahmadinejad also took the chance to attack the United States, by noting those western nations and ÔÇťothers who are alien to the nations and culture of our nations.

Ahmadinejad wanted to make clear that the three countries could solve their own unique problems without having to rely on the West.

With the Taliban and drug smuggling violence a common enemy, alliances in this region may be shifting. Previously, religious difference kept the three countries apart. Pakistan would align itself only with other Sunni Muslim states and avoid Iran as a strict Shiite Muslim state.

The leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan now recognize that there are bigger problems to solve.

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