Hamid Reza Movahedi added that health-related assistance to the refugees have also been drastically curtailed.
He said that the cost of the health and training assistance to the Afghan refugees inside and outside the camps topped rls 387.721 million in 2004.
Over 250,000 Afghan refugees used to live in this northeastern province, and through the voluntary repatriation of the refugees plan, 170,000 have returned to their homeland, Movahedi underlined.
Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iran Dina Faramarzi said in October that since the beginning of the UN-sponsored tripartite program for voluntary return of the Afghan refugees, over 1,086,010 have returned home.
Faramarzi told IRNA that only in 2004, more than 440,440 Afghan refugees have returned to their homeland.
Interior Ministry's figure point to 2.5 million Afghans settling in Iran during the two decades of devastating war in the country.
According to a tripartite agreement signed between Iran, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Afghan transitional government in 2002, over 19,000 Afghans have returned to their homeland from the province of Khorassan (northeastern) since the start of the current Iranian calendar year of 1383 (began on March 20, 2004).
In September, Managing Director of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Brunson Mckinley said Iran has been greatly generous towards its Afghan and Iraqi refugees.
... Payvand News - 11/14/04 ... --