TEHRAN -- Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Muhammad Hanif Atmar visited Tehran on Sunday (June 21) as tensions persist between the two countries following the deaths of Afghan migrants at the hands of Iranian security forces last month.
Photos of Atmar's meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, were published Saturday (June 20) by the Afghan Foreign Ministry.
Atmar and Zarif discussed the deadly incident that occurred at the Afghan-Iranian border, according to a statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry June 21.
"During the meeting, the two countries' inter-ministerial delegations discussed the recent tragedy in Afghanistan, the pursuit of investigations and solutions to prevent its recurrence," the ministry said.
The visit follows the deaths in May of several Afghan migrants who were allegedly forced into a river by Iranian border guards and drowned.
The migrants died while they were illegally crossing into Iran from Herat Province, say Afghan officials.
Eighteen bodies, some bearing signs of torture and beatings, were recovered from the Harirud River, while other migrants were reported missing in an incident that sparked anger and protests in Afghanistan.
Fifty-five migrants were forced into the river, said one Afghan official.
Iranian authorities have dismissed the accusations, saying the incident occurred inside Afghanistan's territory.
President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation into the drownings, a move welcomed by the United States, at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.
The meeting also comes after an incident earlier this month in Yazd Province which three Afghans died and several others were injured after a car chase with police, Iranian media reported.
The driver of the vehicle "defied police instructions and failed to stop at a checkpoint", said one Iranian official.
About 3.5 million Afghans, including almost a million refugees, live in Iran, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Tens of thousands returned to Afghanistan after the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, but as restrictions have eased in hard-hit Iran, many are again seeking work there.