Iran seeks more security for diplomatic sites in Afghanistan

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran on Monday urged the Taliban to provide better security at Iranian diplomatic sites in neighboring Afghanistan after angry Afghan protesters pelted the consulate in Herat with rocks, state media reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said more needed to be done after protests at the Iranian Consulate in Herat and the Iranian Embassy in Kabul on Monday became aggressive.

In recent weeks, unverified videos purporting to show Afghan refugees being tortured in Iran have been published on social media, angering many Afghans. Iran has denied the accusations

“Full security and a necessary guarantee for safe activity of the embassy and representatives of Iran in Herat and other cities of Afghanistan should be provided,” he said.

Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency said protesters were brought to the consulate in Herat from nearby rural areas and they threw stones at gates and windows of the building. It said Taliban forces dispersed the protesters by shooting into the air and blamed the rally on pro-Western groups in Afghanistan.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 20 demonstrators gathered outside the Iranian Embassy shouting “death to Iran” to protest the videos, which have gone viral.

The number of Afghan refugees fleeing to Iran has increased since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in August. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the number of Afghans in Iran jumped to 5 million from nearly 4 million before the Taliban took power.