Offers To Mediate Between Tajikistan,
DUSHANBE -- Iranian
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in Dushanbe today that
Iran is ready to try to alleviate tensions between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at their request, RFE/RL's Tajik Service
Vahidi, who is on a two-day official visit to Tajikistan, identified Dushanbe's commitment to completing
construction of the Roghun hydroelectric power
station as a point of contention between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Uzbek officials have strongly protested the Roghun
project as taking too much water away from Uzbekistan, which needs it for agricultural use.
Vahidi said Tajikistan and Uzbekistan should try to improve bilateral relations as regional development
is contingent on cooperation between all regional states.
He acknowledged that Tajikistan's water resources could enable it to generate electricity for
export to neighboring countries. He is scheduled to visit the Sangtuda-2
hydroelectric power station that is under construction in southern Tajikistan. Iran is financing that project.
Vahidi met in Dushanbe today with
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon
and his Tajik counterpart, Colonel General Sherali Khayrulloyev. He described military cooperation between Iran and Tajikistan as satisfactory, adding that unspecified new developments in
bilateral relations provide an opportunity to activate unused potential.
Noting persistent instability in Afghanistan, Vahidi advocated three-way cooperation
between Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan in combating drug trafficking and terrorism.
Military cooperation between Tajikistan and Iran began in 1997. Iran has
offered scholarships for Tajik officers to study at Iranian military universities
and also helped Tajikistan to build a factory that makes military uniforms.