Several Afghan immigrants in Iran

Nearly 2.5 Million Afghans Reside in Western Tehran

Monday, 10/02/2023

Almost two and a half million Afghans now live in the western part of Tehran, posing "a significant challenge" to the economy and dividing the government.

Abbas Johari from the Tehran governor's office said the issue "entails expenses, particularly in the realm of education."

Mohammad Taghi Naghdali, a parliament member from Khomeinishahr, said, "People are displeased with the increasing presence of foreign nationals in schools," referring to it as an "invasion".

Foreign nationals is a term commonly referring to Afghans, whose numbers have been steadily rising as they flow across borders in the wake of the Taliban takeover two years ago.

In January, the Director-General of Foreign Nationals and Foreign Migrants Affairs at the Ministry of Interior stated that there were five million Afghan citizens residing in the country.

Naghdali has called for an explanation from the parliament's speaker regarding the matter, while others have raised complaints.

Last month, it was revealed that plans are underway to grant many of the Afghan population citizenship. Announced by MP Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash, he said the regime wants to formalize the presence of one of the country's largest immigrant populations, a move dividing the establishment. 

The issue of unauthorized entry of Afghans continues to trouble the country, both economically and demographically. While the Islamic Republic might be considering accepting more Afghan Hazaras, who share Shiite beliefs with Iranians, there is a concern that an influx of Sunni migrants could potentially alter the country's social balance. Currently, Sunni Muslims constitute around 10 percent of Iran's nearly 88-million population.

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