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Iran Signals Repatriation of Afghan Migrants: A Crisis in the Making?

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Saboor Bayat
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Iran Signals Repatriation of Afghan Migrants: A Crisis in the Making?

Iran's Minister of Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, has sent a strong signal to Afghan citizens residing illegally in the country: prepare to be repatriated to Afghanistan. An undercurrent of tension brews as Vahidi hints at the machinations of an unidentified 'enemy' seeking to sow discord between Afghans and Iranians. His statements underscore Tehran's intent to regulate migration, extending not just to undocumented migrants, but to those with valid papers as well.

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Afghan Migrants in the Crosshairs

Vahidi's remarks have set the stage for what could be a mass exodus of Afghan migrants from Iran. His dialogue with the Taliban suggests that preparations are already underway for the return of Afghan migrants. The need for time to facilitate this process was also emphasized, indicating a strategic and phased approach to the issue.

However, the plights of the migrants themselves should not be lost amid the political rhetoric. Arrests and deportations of Afghan migrants have been reported in various Iranian cities. These individuals grapple with significant challenges, including forced deportations for the undocumented and economic hardships for others.

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(Read Also: A Pivotal Moment for Iran’s Reformists: The Esfand Elections)

Call for Continued Support

Afghan migrant rights activist, Asif Stanikzai, has called upon countries and organizations worldwide to extend their aid to Afghan migrants. Stanikzai's plea underlines the need for sustained humanitarian assistance, irrespective of the internal conditions in Afghanistan.

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In a similar vein, Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate, has urged neighboring countries, including Iran, to foster amicable relations with Afghan migrants. Mujahid's call for no harassment or oppression reflects a sentiment that resonates with many who have been closely following the issue.

(Read Also: Iran’s Foreign Minister Asserts Palestinian Resilience Amidst Israeli Offensives)

The Larger Picture

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According to Iranian media, nearly 5 million Afghan citizens currently reside in Iran. This figure throws into stark relief the magnitude of the impending repatriation, which could potentially displace millions. The move also highlights the complex dynamics at play in the region, with the lives of Afghan migrants hanging in the balance.

The global community must now grapple with the manifold implications of this policy. The potential for human rights abuses, economic instability, and further exacerbation of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan are all issues that warrant serious consideration and immediate action.

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