Iran says those who caused problems for Afghans should bear responsibility

May 11, 2019

TEHRAN - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Saturday that Iran does not intend to deport Afghan refugees, however, those who have caused problems for the Afghan people should bear responsibility.

“The issue is not deportation of the refugees. The issue is that those who have caused problems for the Afghans should fulfil their responsibility. Our audience is not Afghanistan and Afghans. Our audience are Westerners and Europeans. They should fulfil their responsibility towards Afghanistan and help them solve their problems,” he said in a televised interview.

He noted that Iran has always helped and will continue to help the Afghan refugees.

“We have no problem with presence of the Afghan refugees in Iran. However, it cannot happen that the Westerners impose sanctions and economic pressure on us and forget their own responsibilities in this respect,” he remarked.

Araqchi said on Friday that the Western countries have caused many problems for the Afghan people and should fulfil their duties in helping the Afghan refugees.

“Iran has been hosting Afghan refugees for 40 years with generosity and the Western countries, which have caused many miseries for the Afghan people, should fulfil their duties in this respect,” Araqchi told IRNA.

The issue of refugees and asylum seekers is an international issue and helping them is also “an international responsibility”, he insisted.

He added, “The European governments should pay their share for hosting refugees be it through helping financially or granting them asylum.” 

Elsewhere, Araqchi said, “It is obvious that under the current situation in which the U.S. administration has imposed cruel and illegal sanctions against Iran with no international justification and seeks to restrict the Islamic Republic’s financial resources, the Iranian people’s demands will find new dimensions.”

However, he said, it is not on Iran’s agenda to expel the Afghan refugees.

In a televised interview aired on Wednesday, Araqchi said that Iran hosts the Afghan refugees wholeheartedly, despite many financial costs.

“There are over three million Afghans in Iran who have taken more than two millions job opportunities and take three to five billion euros out of the country,” he explained. 

He added that there are 468,000 Afghan pupils in Iran and each of them costs 600 euros for the education system per year.

There are also more than 3,000 Afghan university students in Iran whose education costs Iran about 15,000 euros annually, the senior diplomat explained.

The deputy foreign minister said Iran will be forced to adopt new policies when its income is reduced because of the U.S. sanctions.

Afghans made their way into the neighboring countries, mainly Iran and Pakistan, after the Soviet invasion and during the civil war that followed.

In May 2015, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a decree to the Ministry of Education allowing all Afghan children of school age, regardless of documentation status, to attend primary and secondary school education. In addition, all refugees of school-age are now exempt from paying costly refugee-specific tuition fees, which encourages even vulnerable and economically challenged families to send their children to school.


NA/PA

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