Iran and Afghanistan Discuss Herat Land Dispute

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Wednesday says the purchase of land in Herat for the Iranian Consulate, was against the laws of Afghanistan.

The process for getting the ownership of the land by this institution (Iranian consulate) is against diplomatic principles and laws of Afghanistan, said Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni, spokesman to ministry of foreign affairs.

Assessments conducted by the ministry show that the Iranian diplomatic mission in Herat had purchased the land from a Herat resident years ago, but without seeking approval from the Afghan government.

Documents received from the Iranian diplomatic mission by TOLOnews, show that the then Iranian consular general, Mohammad Baqir Danish, had purchased the land from two residents of Herat, known as Abdul Ghafoor and Abdul Majid in 1970.

The Afghan ministry of foreign affairs says that it had never allotted the land to Iranian consulate.

On Wednesday, the ministry said that direct purchasing of land in Afghanistan by the foreign diplomatic missions was against the international laws and laws of Afghanistan.

“The way the land was purchased and the administrative procedure at that time, is subject to legal discussions today. But the ministry of foreign affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran are working on these legal procedures,” MoFA spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mustaghni said.

Joining the MoFA, a number of law experts have also said that purchasing the land by the Iranian diplomatic mission was against the constitution of Afghanistan.

“Land selling to foreign diplomatic missions has been defined in the real estate law of Afghanistan. Based on this law, no diplomatic mission in Afghanistan is allowed to purchase land directly. Article 6 of the law states only after completing legal procedures by the ministry of foreign affairs, the process is endorsed by the president. Only then can foreign countries buy the land,” law expert Mohammad Rafi Naderi said.

The Iranian ambassador to Kabul has said that purchasing the land had been agreed to with local officials in Herat. He added however that the Iranian embassy will resolve the problem with the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs.

“We have agreed not to proceed with the matter until technical and legal negotiations between by the two sides are complete. We purchased the land by getting the necessary approval from Afghan local officials at that time and the documents exist,” Iranian ambassador to Kabul Mohammad Reza Bahrami told TOLOnews.

“It is in the interest of our Iranian friends and people in Herat to remove the obstacle l and process their documents according to the law whenever they are ready,” Herat governor Mohammad Asif Rahimi said.

Afghan officials have said that the Iranian delegation has asked the Afghan government to pay the price of 1600 square meter of land hindering a road development project in Herat city or provide alternative land to Iranian ministry of foreign affairs.

Source:Make Me Feed. Date: 29 June, 2016.