A senior Iranian official has criticized Turkey for creating “serious” environmental problems by constructing a wall along the two countries’ border.
In an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam TV network, Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Majid Mir Ahmadi said the wall being built along the Iranian border was part a strategy devised by Turkey based on its own assessment of the threats it was facing in border areas.
“We have had and will have no problems in this regard as long as our [country’s] geographical and territorial limits are observed but [the border wall] has caused serious environmental problems for us and affected our rivers and environment,” he added.
The official noted that Iran had informed Turkish officials of the environmental problems and was waiting for the necessary reforms.
The construction of the 295-kilometers wall along the border with Iran is currently underway and is scheduled to be finished by 2023.
Ankara says the construction work is aimed at improving security by halting the infiltration of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and "illegal smugglers".
Some five million Afghan refugees live in Iran
The Interior Ministry official further said that some five million Afghan refugees are currently living in Iran, which is among the world’s top refugee hosts.
Mir Ahmadi noted that Iran had plans to organize the Afghan refugees and was currently working to implement them.
Iran has been facing a new wave of refugees from Afghanistan since the country came under the control of the Taliban group in August.
Iran has criticized the 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.
Authorities have warned that if enough support is not provided for dealing with the refugees, the influx could reach countries in Europe.
'Border clashes with Taliban should be settled'
Elsewhere in his interview, Mir Ahmadi said Taliban forces were not familiar with border guarding tasks and sometimes engage in clashes with Iranian forces, stressing the importance of adopting measures to gradually solve the problem.
Iran believes that the Taliban forces do not seek to get involved a dispute with Iranian border guards and has expressed its readiness to train the Afghan forces for the relevant tasks, he added.