Afghan immigrants at the border with Iran

Iran Imposes Sweeping Ban On Afghan Nationals' Entry

Sunday, 12/03/2023

Iran has declared a comprehensive ban on the entry of Afghan nationals into 16 provinces across the country.

The Director General of Citizenship and Foreign Nationals Affairs of Kermanshah Province, Hamzeh Soleimani, confirmed on Sunday that settlement and employment of Afghan citizens are currently prohibited in provinces including Kermanshah, under a newly issued directive.

The directive, comprising eight stages for the identification, detention, and deportation of unauthorized nationals in Kermanshah, has been underway since the start of the year (March 21).

“Numerous housing construction projects, greenhouses, horse stables, and livestock farms underwent inspection under the plan, leading to the arrest and expulsion of Afghan workers from the province,” noted Soleimani.

The official also reported the detention of employers who had hired the individuals, emphasizing the severity of the measures taken.

Although specific provinces were not mentioned in the announcement, the Farda-e-Eghtesad website disclosed a list of 15 provinces where the residence of Afghan citizens is now prohibited. These include East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, and others.

Simultaneously, Ahmad Vahidi, the Minister of Interior in Ebrahim Raisi's administration, revealed the expulsion of approximately 400,000 migrants living “illegally” in Iran. However, details regarding their nationality and the timeframe for their return to their home countries were not provided.

The development follows over 540 artists, lawyers, doctors, journalists, and activists demanding an end to harassment against Afghan migrants in Iran in October. Amnesty International has also warned of the serious risks, particularly for Afghan women and girls, exposed to harassment and abuse solely based on their gender.

Afghan refugees have been streaming through the border in recent years, with their total number now estimated to be between six to seven million, according to the Iranian Parliament’s Research Center expert.

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