Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei hailed the initiative of Afghan officials to create a national unity government as a key step toward the settlement of the eastern neighbor's problems.
Ayatollah Khamenei voiced hope that the Afghan national unity government would become fully established because "forging true unity among ethnic groups and officials is key to solving Afghanistan's problems."
The Leader made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Tehran on Tuesday, IRNA reported.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran views Afghanistan's security and progress as its own," he said, noting that Iran is currently home to three million Afghan nationals.
Highlighting the high potential for increased relations between the two sides, he said, "An increase in bilateral cooperation is in the interest of both countries."
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to thousands of Afghan students and graduates studying in Iran and said it represents a "valuable opportunity" for the Kabul government to attract and employ the educated population by offering "incentives".
He praised the Afghan people for their exemplary resistance against past aggressions by occupying powers, including Britain, the former Soviet Union and recently the United States.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the Afghans have been known as people of resistance and religion, and no occupying force has been able to survive in Afghanistan for long.
Abdullah thanked Iran for its support for his country, saying, "The Afghan government and people hold Iran in high regard. There exist good grounds for wider Iran-Afghanistan cooperation. We aim to explore ways of increasing bilateral cooperation in our talks with Iranian officials."
Financial Tribune (Iran), January 6, 2016