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Iraqi elections to be held in 6 Iranian provinces: Official

1/3/05 Tehran, Jan 3, IRNA -- The upcoming Iraqi elections will be held in six Iranian provinces on January 28-30, it was announced here on Monday.

Director General of the Interior Ministry's Alien and Foreign Immigrants Affairs Bureau Ahmad Hosseini told IRNA that voting centers will be set up in six Iranian provinces to allow Iraqis residing in the Islamic Republic to participate in the elections.

On the basis of an agreement reached between Iran, Iraq and the UN, the Iraqi elections will be held in the Iranian provinces of Tehran, Qom, West Azarbaijan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan and Khorassan, he added.

An independent commission in charge of holding the Iraqi elections has announced that the elections will be held in 14 world countries, including Iran, simultaneously, Hosseini added.

Over 200,000 Iraqi nationals are living in Iran, he said, adding that some 12,000 Iraqis have repatriated to their home country so far.

Hosseini further announced that those people holding the Iranian identification card but have been born in Iraq can take part in the elections.

On the latest status of Afghan refugees residing in Iran, Hosseini said that for the first time, the number of Afghan refugees in Iran has been lowered to less than one million.

He added that the Afghan refugees living in Iran have another one year time to make use of the advantages of repatriation programs. He also predicted that the number of Afghan refugees in Iran would reach less than 500,000 by the next year.

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