Senior Afghan Envoy Lauds Strong Cultural Ties with Iranian Nation

Senior Afghan Envoy Lauds Strong Cultural Ties with Iranian NationAddressing the inaugural ceremony of Futsal competitions of Afghan migrants in Iran, Shams said that the two countries boast of strong and long-standing relations, as a large number of Afghans are currently living in the neighboring country in peace and security.

He added that the contests are held concurrent with the 100th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic relations.

"They have good cooperation in various fields and hosting three million Afghans by Iran is indicative of deep relations between the two countries," the Afghan official said.

"The two countries are Muslims and neighbors and our ties with Iran are exceptional, as many Iranians are engaged in most of Afghan projects," Shams said.

Early in June, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) praised Iran for its services and hospitality towards the foreign refugees in the past decades.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has offered extensive services to foreign refugees over the past 40 years, Head of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Iris Benom said in a meeting with head of Foreign Ministry’s office in East and North of Iran in Mashhad city Gholam Abbas Arbab Khales on June 01.

Arbab Khales, for his part, said that some 600,000 Afghan nationals are residing in Khorassan Razavi province either having valid papers or without document.

Over one thousand Afghan nationals are entering Iran illegally daily, half of whom are arrested and deported to their country, he said.

An Iranian official said last year that over 900,000 legal Afghan refugees were living in Iran, adding that the number of Iraqis residing in Iran had declined as security has been restored to that country.

"From the 1.35 million Afghans about 900 thousand are refugees, and 450 thousand are passport holders; there are a number of illegal ones, whose number is not known," Deputy Director of the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, Mohammad Ali Salehi Najafabadi said.

He pointed to Afghanistan as part of the Muslim World and an important neighbor of Iran, and said, "Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has ordered that all the Afghan children in Iran should be educated like the Iranians."

Salehi Najafabadi also said that the safer Iran's neighbor, the better for Iran, and added Iran was trying to raise a dynamic generation of Afghans to be able to return to their country.

He said once there were about 450,000 Iraqi refugees in Iran, but after the return of security to Iraq, most of them went back to their country, adding, "There are about 40,000 Iraqis in Iran now."

Message end/