Iran Interior Minister Rahmani-Fazli wants European Union member states to fund the economic, social and political costs he claims Afghan refugees impose on the Shiite country.
The semi-official MEHR newsagency reports Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli made the call Sunday in a meeting with visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
The Iranian minister said minor international aid cannot cover the whole expenses of refugees currently hosted by Iran – the country shares a border with Afghanistan – and it is incumbent of the EU to lift its funding.
Iran is home to around three million legal and illegal Afghan refugees, Rahmani-Fazli claimed. Each year, the country identifies 7,000 illegal Afghan refugees and returns them to their own homeland, Rahmani-Fazli added.
It is only reasonable that other countries, including European ones, take up hosting these refugees for a few years, he said.
Rahmani-Fazli further called for a joint meeting on the Afghan refugee situation by UN officials and European authorities.
Iran has in the past been criticized for its treatment of Afghanis seeking refugee in the country, with allegations made the country simply trains able-bodied men and then sends them as mercenary fighters to the Syria civil war.
In late 2015, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the Islamic Republic expolited desperate Shiite Afghan refugees who have crossed the border from their home country into Iran by coercing them to fight alongside forces in Syria loyal to Assad, often leading to their death.
A 2016 news report confirmed that Iran is exploiting Afghan refugees by coercing them to fight alongside forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, often leading them to their death.
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