Isfahan, Jan 1, IRNA-Director General of Interior Ministry's Department for Immigrants and Foreign Nationals Ahmad Hosseini said on Sunday that the government plans to repatriate all Afghan refugees still living in Iran.
He told IRNA that the government has enforced a plan to identify, estimate, classify and separate Afghan refugees and repatriate them voluntarily in the next Iranian year (beginning from March 21, 2006).
Hosseini said that representatives of Iran, Afghan government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will hold a meeting in Tehran in March to discuss voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran.
Asked to give a figure on Afghan nationals staying in Iran illegally, he said that for the time being there is no clear figure on Afghan refugees adding that capacity of refugee camps should increase to accommodate Afghan nationals living illegally in Iran and the Islamic Republic of Iran Police (IRIP) should enforce strict measures at Eastern borders to prevent the entry of Afghan nationals, on one hand, and the Ministry of Labor should require employers not to recruit Afghan nationals, on the other.
He said that the number of Afghan nationals living in Iran with permits will be collected by end of January.
Hosseini said that some 650,000 Afghan nationals have already got permits to stay in Iran until the end of first half of the next Iranian year.
He said that he believes that currently 800,000 to 850,000 Afghan nationals are living in Iran.
Hosseini said that IRIP arrested and deported some 200,000 Afghan nationals who had entered Iran illegally in the past nine months.
He said that in addition to Afghan refugees, there are some 100,000 Iraqi refugees and 5,000 people of other nationals in Iran.
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