DUSHANBE (TCA) — The Embassy of Iran in Dushanbe has denied allegations made in a documentary aired by Tajikistan state television that Tehran played a negative role in Tajikistan’s civil war in the 1990s, slamming the “spiteful” narrative as an attempt to foment discord between the two countries, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reports.
On August 8, Tajikistan accused Iran of backing high-profile killings during the Tajik civil war in the 1990s, including the assassination of the former chairman of the Tajik parliament Safarali Kenjaev in 1999.
In a 45-minute documentary broadcast on Tajik state television, the Tajik Interior Ministry claimed that Tehran was interested in fomenting civil war in Tajikistan, and it provided financial assistance to the Tajik Islamic Party and trained its militants on Iranian territory.
According to the Ministry, Iranian financial support and instructions to carry out assassinations were conveyed to Islamic Party militants through Khoji Halim Nazarzoda, a former deputy defense minister who was one of the Islamic Party's commanders in the 1990s. Nazarzoda was killed in November 2015 during an anti-coup operation near the Tajik capital Dushanbe.
A man who introduced himself as a former Islamic party fighter in the documentary said that he traveled to Iran in 1995 and received sabotage training along with 200 compatriots in the city of Qom. He said he returned to Tajikistan in 1997 with clear instructions to kill political and public figures.
The Iranian Embassy said in a statement that “Tajikistan will not forget Iran as one of the founders and main guarantors of the peace process in Tajikistan, and its constructive role in ending the country’s civil wars of the 1990s by hosting the negotiations between the conflicting sides.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has been a pioneer in constructing infrastructure projects in Tajikistan such as ‘Esteqlal’ strategic tunnel, Ibn Sina Hospital, providing Red Crescent medical services to low-income or orphaned Tajik families by Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, constructing sports centers, restoring historical sites, educating Tajik youth in universities, establishing and equipping tens of educational centers and hundreds of such measures, all indicating Iran’s support for cementing stability and preserving Tajikistan’s independence and sustainable security,” the statement said.
“The airing of such biased films after the recent visit of Tajikistan’s minister of energy and water resources together with the Tajik head of the two countries’ joint commission on economic and cultural cooperation aimed at taking part in Iranian President’s inauguration ceremony indicates that certain circles in Tajikistan do not want to see the normalization and improvement of friendly ties between the two countries,” the Iranian Embassy stressed.
“The Iranian Embassy in Dushanbe is of the opinion that such divisive measures are not in line with the two nations’ interests, and are carried out by people who cannot tolerate the friendly relations between Iran and Tajikistan, which share the same culture and language,” the statement concludes.