Iran denounces US-Afghan strategic pact

Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday denounced a new strategic pact signed between Afghanistan and the United States, saying it would give rise to instability in the neighbouring country.

"Iran is concerned about the strategic pact signed between Afghanistan and the US," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

"Not only will the strategic pact not resolve Afghanistan's security problems, but it will intensify insecurity and instability in Afghanistan," he said.

His remarks came after US President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a deal with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, cementing post-war ties with Kabul after 2014.

The pact foresees the possibility of American forces staying behind to train Afghan forces and pursue the remnants of Al-Qaeda but does not commit Washington to specific troop or funding levels for Afghanistan.

The deal, reached after months of painstaking negotiations, also states that the US does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Mehmanparast said on Sunday the solution to establishing security in Afghanistan was for foreign forces to leave.

He also said the pact was a source of "concern" for Iran as "the status of US military bases in Afghanistan is unclear and the security duties of US forces lack transparency."

Iran regularly criticises the presence of Western forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the Arab Gulf countries, calling for their immediate departure.

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