Iran’s interior minister says the country has been left on its own to deal with millions of Afghan refugees who have been resettled in the country over the past decades.
Ahmad Vahidi said on Tuesday that Iran is currently the second largest migrant receiving country in the world with some 3.5 million Afghan refugees.
“The subsidies given to the Iranian citizens are also granted to these migrants,” said Vahidi while addressing a gathering of foreign ambassadors and envoys from international organizations in Tehran.
The minister, however, criticized lack of global financial supports for refugees in Iran, saying that funds provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have failed to match the size of the country’s refugee programs.
“The aid provided by the UNHCR to Iran for admission of refugees is trivial or almost non-existent,” he said.
Iran has been facing a new wave of refugees from Afghanistan since the country came under the control of the Taliban group in August.
Authorities have warned that if enough support is not provided for dealing with the refugees, the influx could reach countries in Europe.
Vahidi also raised the issue of Iran’s extensive efforts to fight drug trafficking from Afghanistan over the past decades, saying the battle had cost Iran over 15,000 casualties.
“Undoubtedly, if Iran had not blocked the smuggling of narcotics, the destination for these shipments would have been Europe and other countries,” he said.
The minister added that narcotics discovery operations in Iran over the calendar year to March had covered more than 90% of the global opium discovery, over 70% of the world’s morphine discovery and a fifth of the total heroin discovery in the world.