Over 24,000 illegal Afghans have been expelled from Iran by border guards amid rising calls to prioritize the needs of Iranian citizens amid the economic crisis.
The Commander of the Border Guards in Khorasan Razavi province, Majid Shojai, stated on Monday that “within the past 10 days, the individuals, present in the country illegally, were identified and handed over to the Afghan government's representative at the zero point of the Dogharoun region.”
Khorasan Razavi province, sharing a 531-kilometer border with Turkmenistan to the north and northeast and a 302-kilometer border with Afghanistan to the east, has been a focal point for border control.
Simultaneously, a member of parliament, Abolfazl Aboutorabi, proposed measures to penalize those renting houses or providing employment to “unauthorized foreign nationals”. According to Aboutorabi, both Iranian landlords and employers who engage unauthorized foreign nationals will face legal consequences.
Critics claim that amidst the country's economic crisis, focus should be on supporting Iranian citizens before refugees and immigrants.
Hassan Ramazani, another parliamentarian, recently claimed, based on statements from Iran's Minister of Labor, that approximately five million jobs are currently held by foreign nationals, particularly Afghan residents in Iran. The assertion comes at a time when official statistics from the Statistical Center of Iran indicate the loss of nearly 900,000 jobs in the country since 2018.
Accusations of Afghan refugees contributing to unemployment in Iran coincide with reports of significant foreign investments by Afghan migrants and traders. The Iranian Foreign Investment Association's statistics reveal that in the first half of this year alone, the country attracted $2 billion in foreign investments, with Afghan migrants ranking first in terms of the number of investments.