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Iran rules out becoming NATO supply route for Afghanistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, March 6, IRNA -- The Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow NATO to use its territory to transit non-military supplies to war-stricken Afghanistan, a senior Iranian legislator announced here Friday.

Talking at a press briefing at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin, Alaeddin Boroujerdi said, "Iran is not interested in becoming a logistic bridge for NATO to Afghanistan."

He was reacting to recent German media reports which stated that NATO military leaders were contemplating of using the Iranian route to deliver supplies to Afghanistan as NATO convoys in Pakistan have repeatedly become the target of al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks.

Boroujerdi reiterated Iran's principled opposition to NATO's presence in Iran.

He made clear that the western military alliance had no place in Afghanistan for a "permanent presence" in the country.

The Iranian MP urged NATO to come up with an exit strategy for Afghanistan.

He added that the continuing deployment of NATO would only "lead to more extremism and terrorism."

NATO has currently deployed around 55,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF is by far NATO's largest military operation in Afghanistan.

The ISAF mission was mandated by the United Nations in December 2001 in the wake of the overthrow of the Taliban.

The largest troop contingents come from the US with 23,220 followed by Britain with 8,910 and Germany with 3,500.

American President Barack Obama has already announced that he would boost the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan by around 17,000.

However, he has also said he would call on European allies to make a similar commitment.

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