Karzai ready to mediate in Iran N-standoff | india | Hindustan Times
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Karzai ready to mediate in Iran N-standoff

he Afghanistan President will leave on Saturday for Tehran with a delegation including several Cabinet ministers.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 15:23 IST

President Hamid Karzai will travel to Iran this weekend for an official visit, with Afghanistan offering to mediate in a growing row over Tehran's nuclear programme, the president's office said on Thursday.

Karzai will leave on Saturday with a delegation including several Cabinet ministers, an official in his office said, rejecting reports from Tehran that he was expected on Thursday.

"The main purpose of the visit is to discuss bilateral relations, matters of mutual interest, regional issues and expansion of financial relations," said another official, presidential spokesman Karim Rahimi.

Rahimi said Kabul was ready to mediate in the dispute between the United States and Iran.

"Afghanistan can play a very positive role in reduction of tensions between the two countries since Afghanistan has had best relations with Iran especially in the past four years," he said.

It "also has very good relations with the United States," he said.

"It is also an important point that both Iran and the United States have a common view towards Afghanistan which is supporting the peace and reconstruction process, both have helped Afghanistan," he said.

Afghanistan has good ties with Iran, which took in around two million Afghan refugees during the country's 25 years of war, and has said it wants to deepen this relationship.

The country also has a close relationship with the United States, which is spearheading an international campaign against Iran because of its nuclear programme.