Iran’s plan to jail Afghan migrants sparks concern in Kabul
Concerns have been raised over Iran’s plan to impose prison terms of up to 25 years on anyone considered an “illegal migrant” in the country and of giving officials the go-ahead to fire on vehicles suspected of carrying asylum seekers, Arab News reported.
If Iran’s parliament approves these proposed measures, as many as 2.5 million Afghans living in Iran could be affected.
What has also added to concerns is that many Afghans do not have any identification documents such as passports, visas or residential permits, Arab News reported.
“We are highly concerned about this. We hope that Iran will not resort to such a move,” #Abdul_Basit_Ansari, an adviser for Afghanistan’s ministry of refugees, told Arab News.
“We can jointly work to solve this issue, and we insist on voluntary repatriation of Afghans,” he added.
This comes after Iran’s Sharq newspaper, citing the country’s Islamic Council, said recently that Iran’s parliament was working to “regulate illegal migrants” and would put its proposals up for approval “very soon.”
Arab News stated that under the plan those entering or living in Iran without a permit will be jailed for up to 25 years, and will face hefty fines and confiscation of property.
An Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, #Hamid_Tehzeb, said Kabul has conveyed its concerns to Iranian authorities through its ambassador in Tehran.
“There are serious efforts underway to deal with this issue through diplomatic channels,” Tehzeb told Arab News.
Experts accused Tehran of “taking advantage” of Kabul’s domestic issues.
#Shafiq_Hapal, another analyst, told Arab News that Iran’s move could be a result of a “larger fear” in Tehran that fighting will escalate in Afghanistan after foreign troops leave, forcing hundreds of thousands to seek refugee in Iran.
“I think Iran is making its preparations now to prevent a sudden flow of uncontrolled migration to Iran. It wants to frighten any Afghans who are thinking of escaping there,” he said.