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Iran's conditions for hosting refugees have not been met yet

Iran's conditions for hosting refugees of the US-led war against Iraq have not materialized yet, the head of the interior ministry's Iraqi crisis task force, Ahmad Hosseini told IRNA on Saturday.

The official cited two major conditons, set by the Geneva Convention on refugees and said, "We can accept refugees only if the possibility of survival for refugees is threatened due to military prosecution and the necessary budget is granted to the host country by the United Nations."

"So far none of these conditions have been met," Hossein, who is also deputy interior minister and the head of the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA), said.

The official pointed to Iran's experience in the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 in which the country received no request to grant asylum to any refugee in the first two weeks of the war.

"Given this experience, we can say that we have had no sign of refugee (inflx) in the new Iraq war," Hosseini said.

Iran to provide services for Iraqi refugees

Iran is planning to provide services for the Iraqi refugees fleeing a devastating war on their country by the US and British military troops.

In a Kurdestan provincial security council meeting on Saturday, the local officials discussed the latest developments in Iraq and the ways to provide services for those fleeing the war.

According to the information dissemination committee of the Iraq Crisis Control Headquarters, relief providing teams have been established in the cities of Marivan and Baneh in the vicinity of Iraqi territory to set up camps for the war refugees.

Marivan is the location of two war refugees of "Dazli" and "Bahram Abad".

Necessary coordination has also been made with the Kurdestan medical university to provide medical and health care services to the refugees.

Iran on Thursday closed its borders with Iraq shortly after the US-led attack against the regime of Saddam Hussein started.

The head of the Iranian Interior Ministry's refugee crisis headquarters Ahmad Hosseini said a few days ago any Iranian assistance to probable refugees would be carried out inside the Iraqi soil.

Hosseini predicted that a protracted war would unleash a refugee influx of between 500,000 to 1.2 million towards Iranian borders.

In January, the official said that the Islamic Republic's policy is to help Iraqi officials settle refugees inside the Iraqi territory and Iran will refrain from letting refugees in.

In the event of any security concerns, the Islamic Republic has envisaged to establish 19 camps on the border strip, Hosseini added.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, said here early this month that Iran would be ready to help refugees of a possible US-led war on Iraq if an urgent case arose.

Iran is still following a "closed door" policy towards the influx of likely Iraqi refugees but Iranian officials have promised to extend relief to the refugees if their lives are on the line, the UNHCR chief told a press briefing after meeting with President Mohammad Khatami, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari.

He said the UNHCR and Iran would set up 10 refugee camps on the no man's land near the border with Iraq for settling 200,000 to 250,000 possible refugees, mostly southern Iraqi Shiites.

UN official inspects refugee camp set up for probable refugees

United Nations Senior Advisor in charge of Mine-Sweeping Program Par Bruskiny on Sunday inspected a refugee camp Iran has set up on the border line with Iraq.

The camp has a capacity of sheltering 50,000 Iraqis possibly fleeing from the ongoing war temporarily.

In a brief interview with IRNA, Bruskiny thanked Iranian officials for setting up the camp seven kilometers inside Iran from the 430 km-long borderline.

Iran had planned to set up two refugee camps along its border with Iraq to shelter the probable refugees coming from that country.

... Payvand News - 3/23/03 ... --

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