Iranian, Afghan teams hold new talks on incident surrounding some migrants

May 26, 2020 - 18:29

TEHRAN – Iranian and Afghan political delegations held new talks in Kabul on Tuesday on tragic deaths of a number of Afghan migrants in border area.

The Iranian delegation included Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Mohsen Baharvand and Rasoul Mousavi, an assistant to Iran’s foreign minister.

According to ISNA, the talks were inconclusive and the delegations plan to continue the talks.

It was the second time that Iranian and Afghan officials met on the issue.

Afghan news media have reported that about 50 Afghan migrants crossing into Iran illegally had been beaten and thrown into a river. Iranian political and border officials have refuted the claim, saying the incident happened on the Afghan side of the border.

According to some reports, 18 of the migrants, including a 12-year old boy, were drowned.

Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry announced on May 9 that an inquiry had been launched into the tragedy.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a phone conversation with acting Afghan foreign minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on May 10, discussing the deaths of Afghan migrants.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has rejected as a “bitter joke” a claim by the United States that Iranian guards were involved in the tragic deaths of Afghan migrants.

“Iran has strong ties with Afghanistan & leads the way to help Afghan leaders for inclusive Gvt. What happened to Afghan nationals in Herat is tragic & unrelated to Iran, but U.S. regime’s allegation against Iran is a ‘bitter joke’,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published via Twitter on May 5.

“The (US) regime is a war criminal in Afghanistan & state sponsor of terrorism across the world,” the statement added.

According to Tasnim, Iran spends eight billion dollars on Afghan migrants every year in various sectors.

Based on the latest official figures, 951,142 Afghan refugees reside in Iran. In addition to the refugees, there are around 2.5 million Afghan nationals living in Iran, inclusive of passport holders and undocumented Afghans.

The UN refugee agency has, on numerous occasions, praised Iran for hosting Afghan refugees for more than four decades.

NA/PA

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