Iran Urges Europe to Play Its Part in Aiding Afghan Refugees

Iran Urges Europe to Play Its Part in Aiding Afghan Refugees

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called on European states to step up efforts to address the problems of Afghan refugees, saying they cannot expect Iran to provide help forever.

The senior Iranian diplomat held a meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Tehran on Monday.

In the meeting, Amirabdollahian thanked the UN High Commission for its assistance regarding Afghan refugees, but said that the assistance provided was insignificant compared to the volume of Iran’s measures in this regard.

The Iranian minister also pointed out that more than 520,000 foreign students in Iran study for free and that the vaccination of Afghan asylum seekers has been considered and taken on par with that of Iranian citizens, the Foreign Ministry’s website reported.

Amirabdollahian added that Iran does not have the capacity to provide more services than the current level to new asylum seekers, and that the international community must pay special attention to the living conditions of the Afghan people.

He praised the UN Commission for its services, but said that they were inadequate given the scale of the refugee crisis.

The foreign minister said the crisis of Afghan refugees' influx towards neighboring borders is increasingly large but the volume of international aid is very small.

He further called on the UN Commission to be more active inside Afghanistan and to help reduce asylum seekers from Afghanistan by providing assistance inside the country.

Amirabdollahian also stressed that the European countries must pay their fair share in this regard, and while the presence of several thousands of refugees on the European borders turns into a crisis, they should not expect help from Iran forever and just pay lip service with kind words.

The Iranian foreign minister also suggested that the UN High Commission and the UN secretary-general put holding an international fundraising conference for the people of Afghanistan on their agenda.

For his part, the UN official presented a report on the actions of the UN Refugee Agency, especially regarding Afghan asylum seekers.

Grandi also praised Iran's extensive efforts to help new refugees from Afghanistan.

He called Iran's attention to vaccinating a high percentage of Afghans in Iran and the resettlement of new refugees who enter Iran every day a humane and important step, adding, “We are pursuing an increase in the UN Commission activities and financial resources inside Afghanistan.”

Grandi also called the idea of holding an international conference to collect aid for the people of Afghanistan noteworthy.

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