Iran confirms attendance at Afghanistan parley but level unclear
Iran on Thursday confirmed its attendance at the regional conference aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan to be held on March 31 in The Hague, local media reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi however said that the level of the Iranian delegation has not yet been clarified as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is being on a trip abroad, dpa reported.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier this month that it was expected that Iran would be invited to the conference.
During a trip to Afghanistan had last week, Mottaki indicated that Iran would attend the Afghanistan conference.
"Iran has constantly played a positive and constructive role in aiding Afghanistan, and Iran's policy has always been playing a part in reaching solutions for Afghanistan," Mottaki said but refrained to clarify whether he himself would be present in The Hague.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries where Iran and the United States have common interests and common enemies. Both sides are against the Taliban Islamists and both sides support the government of Hamid Karzai.
The conference could also be the first occasion for the two sides to start efforts for improving bilateral ties after three decades of diplomatic estrangement.
US President Barack Obama last Friday sent a message to Iran on the occasion of the new Persian year asking Iran to open a new era in relations.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replied that opening a new era needed drastic changes on behalf of the US but if Washington showed real change in its policies towards Tehran, then Iran would also change its approach.