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Iran establishes crisis centre to deal with Iraqi refugees

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Teheran (dpa) - Iran has established a crisis headquarters in the interior ministry to prepare the country for the war in Iraq and expected refugee influx, the official news agency IRNA reported Tuesday.

Interior Minister deputy Ahmad Husseini told IRNA that 20 organizations would be grouped at the crisis headquarter, including the foreign ministry, police and Red Crescent.

Husseini said that in the worst case, one million Iraqi war refugees would flee to Iran and warned that the country could not handle such a situation without international aid.

Husseini called on the U.N. to supply at least 15 million dollars for rendering adequate services to war refugees.

Iran has prepared 20 camps in border areas with Iraq with a total capacity for 570,000 refugees. The plan was to keep the refugees are in buffer zones either on Iraqi soil or a few kilometres inside Iran.

Most of the U.N. offices in Iran, mainly the High Commissioner for Refugees, the children's fund UNICEF and the World Food Programme have established bases in Kermanshah and Ahvaz. dpa fm jm

AP-NY-03-18-03 0529EST

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