Mehr News Agency – Iranian Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Police Affairs met with UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection during which he said 97% of refugees hosted by Iran are living under similar conditions as Iranians.
Hossein Zolfaghari, Iranian Deputy Interior Minister for Security and Police Affairs, met and talked with visiting UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk in Tehran on Monday. In the meeting, Zolfaghari presented a report on the status of refugees in Iran, saying there are currently three million illegal refugees and immigrants, 97% of whom live in cities, like other Iranian citizens.
He said that Iran has provided the refugees with the same education, health care, vaccination and urban services as Iranian citizens. He extended his appreciation for the international aid to help the refugees and immigrants in Iran, while saying the assistance is too little to meet their demands and the Iranian government and society are playing a huge part in that regard.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zolfaghari pointed to the increasing number of the refugees, saying that the influx of immigrants is due to the lack of full control over the common borders between Iran and Afghanistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Pakistan and Iran. He said that if there is no appropriate control over the borders, more immigrants will cross into Europe, criticizing the European countries for not providing any help to Iran in that regard.
Later, the Iranian official said that helping security in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq is of high importance, adding that the conflicts between the government and the Taliban in Afghanistan and the recent ISIL attacks have made life much worse for Afghans.
Volker Türk, for his part, expressed his appreciation to Iranians, saying that Iran’s experiences and practices in the areas of health, education, livelihoods, and issuing ID cards to foreign nationals were of great importance in preparation of an international treaty on refugees.
Türk noted that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, will travel to Iran in September, adding that his trip indicates UN’s special attention to Iran and its appreciation at Iran’s efforts in aiding refugees.