In an unprecedented move, Tehran is publicly hosting leaders of the Taliban at the ‘Islamic Unity’ conference.
Tehran had previously denied any direct contact with the movement.
According to the Iranian Mehr news agency, Iranian cleric Mohsen Araki, who is the Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, said at a press conference on Tuesday that Tehran has invited moderate figures such as Taliban to attend the two-day International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Al-Arabiya reported.
Araki said that “the invitation was sent to some Islamic and political figures in the Taliban movement who believe in the unity of Muslims,” stressing that “Iran has always held contacts with some parties in the Taliban movement, who believe in the Islamic unity.”
This announcement comes two days after the statement of the Iranian ambassador to Kabul, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, who spoke about talks between his country and hardline Taliban.
Afghan authorities have in the past implied that Tehran has provided support to the Taliban, which in turn has in recent months escalated its operations in various regions of the country.