Afghanistan + 1 more

Almost 2 million Afghan refuges still in Iran

Afghan Women's Affairs Minister Habiba Sorabi said during a 15 January visit to the eastern Iranian city of Mashhad, Khorasan Province, that she appreciates Iran's hosting many Afghan refugees over the last few years, IRNA reported. Ahmad Husseini, the Iranian Interior Ministry official responsible for refugees, said on 15 January in the western city of Sanandaj that 1.9 million Afghan refugees remain in Iran and 466,000 have been repatriated since March 2002, IRNA reported. Some 80,000 of those who were repatriated were in Iran illegally, he said. Last summer Husseini said, "All Afghan refugees must leave Iran" (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 19 August 2002). BS

Husseini's desire to see the last of the Afghans might reach fruition. Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on 15 January rejected a bill that would grant Iranian citizenship to Afghan men who have married Iranian women, IRNA reported. According to IRNA, there was concern that the bill's passage would encourage Afghans to immigrate to Iran and that it would discourage them from repatriating. "I announce that Iranian citizens must avoid marrying foreigners, especially Afghan nationals," Interior Ministry official Husseini warned, according to "Jomhuri-yi Islami" on 29 July 2002. BS


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