Iran hosts 3 million Afghani refugees

Iran hosts 3 million Afghani refugees

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 22

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Over three million Afghani refugees live in Iran, Brigadier General Hossein Zolfaqari, the Islamic Republic's Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs said.

Iran hosts over 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees, he said, adding an equal amount of illegal Afghani refugees also live in the country.

The Islamic Republic is suffering the refugees' problems due to instability in its neighbors in last 35 years, Zolfaqari said.

Every day about 1500 Afghani refugees enter Iran illegally, he said, Iran's ISNA news agency reported April 22.

Despite the fact that the civil war in Afghanistan has ended, the Islamic Republic still faces the problem of Afghanis' mass immigration into the country.

The official further said that almost 220,000 Afghani immigrants are under health insurance cover in Iran.

Iran plans to increase the figure to 940,000 people in current year, he added.

Zolfaqari also said that 360,000 afghani citizens are working legally in Iran which is a considerable figure.

Iran has returned about 500,000 illegal migrants to their homeland in the last twelve months, however the same amount of new illegal migrants have entered into the country in the same period, he noted.

Zolfaqari said that Iran pursues voluntary return of the Afghani refugees to their homeland.

Afghanistan President, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has announced that turning of refugees from Iran gradually is one of his government's top priorities.

According to a report released by Afghanistan's President Office on April 20, Ashraf Ghani said during a speech among some of Afghani refugees in Iran that "mechanism must be sought for gradual return of Afghan refugees".

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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