Iran’s Embassy in Dushanbe yesterday released a statement, in which it dismisses “unfounded claims made in a documentary aired by Tajikistan TV on August 8.

The statement posted on the Embassy’s website, in particular, described such claims as 'regrettable' saying there is no doubt that the film's producers will not be able to mar cultural bonds and historic friendship between the two nations of Iran and Tajikistan.”

“Claims made in the film on behalf of the imprisoned confessors as well as quoting those who are not alive are not valid,” said the statement of Iran's Embassy in Dushanbe. 

It added that the noble nation of Tajikistan will never forget that Iran as one of the main founders and guarantors of Tajikistan’s peace and host of talks between the country's conflicting sides, has played a constructive role in ending Tajikistan's civil wars in 1990.

The statement further recalled that Iran was the pioneer in building infrastructural installations including the Istiqlol Tunnel (also called Anzob Tunnel), the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power plant (HPP) and Ibn Sino Hospital, as well as offering medical services offered by Iran Red Crescent Society and Imam Khomeini Relief Committee to the low-income families of Tajikistan.

Establishment of a center for sports and renovating historic edifices, training Tajik youths in academic centers and setting up of tens of technical and vocational centers across the republic were also among other measures made by Iran which cannot bear any meaning except helping consolidation of Tajikistan’s stability and development and preserving its independence and sustainable security, said the statement.

“Iran’s fight against terrorism is a public knowledge and the country is one of the major victims of terrorism,” the statement added.

It noted that broadcasting such one-sided films after a visit to Tehran by Tajik energy and water resources minister to attend President Hassan Rouhani inauguration on August 9 on behalf of the Tajik president has indicated that “certain currents and circles cannot bear normalization of ties and boosting of friendship relation between Tehran and Dushanbe.”

“Iran’s Embassy believes that such divisive moves are not in line with the two nations’ interests and they are pursued by those who do not favor the brotherly relations between the countries which share the same language and culture,” the statement said in conclusion.

Recall, the Tajik Interior Ministry claimed in the documentary that Iran was allegedly interested in unleashing civil war in Tajikistan, and it allegedly provided assistance to the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and trained its militants in Iranian territory.   The Tajik Interior Ministry had reportedly taken part in filming the documentary. 

In the documentary, three Tajiks confessed to a series of killings of a number of Tajik politicians and public figures as well as 20 Russian officers in Tajikistan between 1997 and 2004.

The broadcaster aired footage of them in handcuffs saying they had received training in and financial support from Iran.

The documentary identified all three as supporters of a former deputy defense minister and mutinous general Abduhalim Nazarzoda.

The confessions mark the first time Iran has been publicly accused of involvement in Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war.

Some experts consider that the documentary aired amid tensions between Tajikistan and Iran over Tehran's support for the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, which the Supreme Court of Tajikistan has declared a terrorist group.

Tajikistan and Iran have traditionally close relations, sharing many similar cultural, religious and ethnic identifiers and Iran has been a major sponsor of essential hydropower infrastructure in Tajikistan, but Iran has angered Tajikistan by welcoming IRPT leader Muhiddin Kabiri, who is wanted by police in Tajikistan to face various terrorism charges.

Iran invited IRPT leader Muhiddin Kabiri to attend the International Islamic Unity Conference that took place in Tehran on December 27-29, 2015.

Tajikistan’s MFA said in a statement on December 29 that it was “greatly concerned” that “the head of the extremist and terrorist former IRPT, Muhiddin Kabiri, who faces charges of attempting to overthrow the government … has been invited to the conference.”

In April 2016, Tajikistan’s customs service introduced restrictions on the import of food products from Iran. Dry leaf tea, poultry and other goods were ruled unacceptable for their allegedly poor quality. In July 2016, the Tajik office of Iran’s Khomeini Imdod Committee, an international development fund, closed.  In early July this year, the Iranian trade and culture center in the Tajik northern city of Khujand, which was particularly appreciated for its library services and fast internet, closed its doors.  The shuttering reportedly came at the request of the Tajik authorities.