Karzai: Sure, my office takes money from Iran

Citing two Afghan officials, The New York Times reported Sunday how Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan gave Karzai’s chief of staff “a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills ” on a flight in August.

The newspaper said the cash was “part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to … promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace.” Western and Afghan officials allege that “Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors,” the Times said.

When asked about the allegations at a press conference in Kabul on Monday, Karzai said: “We have accepted cash payments from Iranian, large sums. This is normal.”

When asked whether receiving cash was unusual, Karzai added: “The U.S. gives us large bundles of cash as well.