Iran's president told the leaders of Aghanistan and Tajikistan today that the three neighbors could provide a counterweight to NATO in Asia once foreign troops exit the region.
Mahmud Ahmadinejad said the three countries should strengthen economic and security ties.
At a summit in Tehran of the three Persian-speaking countries -- the fourth in two years -- Ahmadinejad said Tajikistan and Afghanistan had emerged from Soviet rule and occupation just as Iran had shaken off U.S. influence after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Ahmadinejad said they should join forces and become an "obstacle" to what he said was Western expansion through NATO.
"Those who came in from Europe representing NATO, they want to put pressure on China, Russia, and India, and if they are confronted by three independent, empowered countries here, then that is an obstacle," he said.
Ahmadinejad called on foreign troops to leave the region.
Ahmadinejad, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon agreed to work for greater cooperation in economic, trade, and transport matters.