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Nuclear agreement creates new possibilities for refugee population

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For the past three decades, Iran has been hosting refugees from Afghanistan with minimal international, financial support © NRC/Iran

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) praises the diplomatic efforts which led to a historical agreement between Iran, the European Union and the six world powers in Switzerland last week. “NRC is providing, together with the Government, vital humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable households with refugee status. We have been witnessing first-hand the negative, and sometimes counterproductive, impact which sanctions have on humanitarian operations in the country,” NRC Iran Country Director, Olivier Vandecasteele says.

For the past thirty years, Iran has been host to nearly one million Afghan refugees with minimal international financial support. NRC has been working in the country since 2012 and has experience in delivering humanitarian relief in a context where the international sanctions regime adversely impacted on the ability to get vital aid on the ground to those in need. Sanction relief will likely reduce inflation rates, ease financial procedures and should lead to an increase in the availability of crucial social services necessary to improve the quality of life for Iranian citizens and the Afghan refugees Iran has been hosting for the past three decades.

Furthermore, Afghanistan’s economy will also likely see effects of economic growth by way of increased remittances, thereby improving the status of Afghan nationals wishing to return home.

“NRC hopes the final agreement will include key provisions that further support the delivery of humanitarian assistance for the Afghan refugee population by the Government of Iran and the international community,” Vandecasteele says.

“More than ever, the world needs courageous diplomacy with the capacity to rebuild trust and provide hopeful perspectives for the future. Such achievements are rare and should therefore be encouraged,” Vandecasteele states.