Iran this week restarted fuel exports to Afghanistan that had been disrupted by fighting between the Taliban and forces under the now deposed Afghan government, traders in Tehran and former U.S. officials say, with the Taliban now providing critical dollars to the sanctions-crushed Iranian economy from its lucrative narcotics operations.
The burgeoning trade relationship between Tehran and the Taliban threatens to undermine key U.S. pressure campaigns against both.
Iran has been cut off from the global market for the greenback by U.S. sanctions, and the Taliban’s willingness to trade with their neighbor gives Iran rare access to U.S. dollars it needs to import essential goods and bolster its depreciated currency.
Meanwhile, the arrangement enables the Taliban, who are also cut off from trade and finance by international sanctions, to purchase basic commodities vital to keeping the ailing Afghan economy running.
Iranian traders, who had been selling to Afghan businessmen under the supervision of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, stopped sending refined petroleum to their Eastern neighbor this summer after fighting escalated between the Afghan national army and the Taliban.
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