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Iran to End Afghan Fuel Blockade

Empty fuel tankers sit on the Afghan side of a border crossing to Iran, in Herat province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, 15 Jan 2011

Iran has told the Afghan government it will lift its fuel blockade of Afghanistan.

A statement issued by the Afghan government on Tuesday says Iran's ambassador to Kabul told President Hamid Karzai that thousands of fuel tankers stranded at the border will be allowed to cross into Afghanistan over the next four days.

The tankers have been parked at the border since late December when Iran voiced concerns that the fuel would be used by NATO forces. Iran also says its recent decision to slash domestic fuel subsidies was a factor in not allowing the tankers to cross into Afghanistan.

Afghan officials have said the fuel was for consumption by Afghans and that as a result of the Iranian blockade, fuel prices have jumped by as much as 70 percent. There have been daily demonstrations in Afghan cities against the blockade.

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