Iran rejects ‘forceful deportation’ of nationals

Iran rejects ‘forceful deportation’ of nationals

Tehran, Iran, April 19

By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister in Consular and Overseas Nationals Affairs Hassan Qashqavi has criticized foreign countries for deporting Iranian asylum seekers.

"We are against forcefully deporting Iranian asylum seekers and this is our firm and constant position and we have frequently told the foreign sides_ their foreign ministers and consular officials_ and this is a firm stance that we are saying yes to the willful return home, but no to forceful deportation," said Qashqavi, Fars news agency reported April 19.

The accepting countries usually sift the asylum seekers according to the criteria they have, taking those who they think would be good forces for their countries and rejecting those who they do not desire, he said.

The Iranian diplomat went on to condemn forceful deportation as an anti-humanitarian action.

The official further said that the Islamic Republic welcomes the returning nationals with open arms.

As soon as their identification is made sure of, they will be let return to their homeland and families and there will be no problem on their way back to the country, he asserted.

Qashqavi's remarks come at a time when there is a dispute between Iran and Australia over Iranian asylum seekers.

More than 20 percent of people held in mainland Australian immigration detention centers are from Iran.

There are also almost 7000 Iranians who arrived by boat living on bridging visas in the Australian community.

As of February, almost 1300 Iranians were being held in immigration centres and community detention in Australia.

During his visit to Tehran earlier this week, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop invited Iranian officials to visit Australia as soon as possible to continue discussions on asylum seekers.

Her talks in Iran have failed to convince them to take back failed asylum seekers, although she describes the discussions as positive.

Last week, Iranian ambassador Abdolhossein Vahaji indicated his country was unlikely to agree to a deal on the issue.

"We cannot put any pressure and impose any forces on them in order to send them back to Iran," he said.

"This is against the law and regulation and we cannot [do it] according to human rights [laws]."

Follow the author on Twitter: @mehdisepahvand

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