1 million Afghans live illegally in Iran, says deputy minister
(IRNA) - One million Afghan refugees are now living illegally in the country, the Iranian advisor and managing director for foreign refugees of the Interior Ministry said here on Sunday.
During a two-day nationwide gathering of managers, heads of city councils and mayors of cities hosting the highest number of refugees held in this northwestern city, Ahmad Hosseini said that 950,000 Afghans and 60,000 Iraqis have been documented as living in the country, reports Trend.
Over the last five years, 14,000 Iraqi nationals and 1.4 million Afghans have been repatriated to their countries of origin, he added.
He reiterated that in the current Iranian year 250,000 Afghans have been arrested while attempting to enter the country without valid entry permits.
The advisor to the interior minster further said that another 10,000 refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan had been arrested while trying to illegally leave the country for Turkey.
He referred to the fact that expenses borne by the Iranian government for refugees surpass the global community's contributions, and urged more support and understanding by international bodies in this regard.
The deputy director said that 500,000 refugees had been scheduled for repatriation to their home states in accordance with the voluntary tripartite repatriation program of the UNHCR, Iran and Afghanistan, but official figures show just 15,000 have been repatriated so far.
Hosseini added that some 400,000 Afghans have been born in Iran since after the war and have now been living here for some 15 years.
He referred to the continuing violence, poverty and inability to find jobs in their country as the main reasons why Afghans refuse to avail of the voluntary repatriation program.