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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Islamic Republic of Iran

| Overview |

Working environment

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to host one of the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world, despite the voluntary return of hundreds of thousands Afghan and Iraqi refugees to their countries of origin over the past decade. According to the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants' Affairs (BAFIA), as of October 2011, the number of refugees registered with the authorities stood at over 882,000 (over 840,000 Afghans and some 42,000 Iraqis).

  • In the Islamic Republic of Iran, 97 per cent of all refugees are living in urban and semi-urban areas. Between January 2002 and July 2013, UNHCR assisted over 913,000 Afghans to return home voluntarily, and almost 30,000 Iraqi refugees have also been assisted to repatriate voluntarily since 2003. However, the number of people who have returned in 2013 remains low in comparison with previous years, and the assistance programme will need to continue.

  • Hyperinflation in the country has affected the delivery of services by different government sectors. There has also been a dramatic rise in the cost of living, including food items, other basic needs, health and education-related costs. This has affected the refugee population in particular. At present, approximately 24 per cent of registered refugees are considered vulnerable, and this situation is expected to affect increasing numbers of refugees.

  • International sanctions and the effects of inflation continue to affect the delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as operational costs for UNHCR and other organizations.

  • The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran was actively involved in the process leading to the Solutions Strategy for Afghan refugees (SSAR), endorsed in May 2012. This strategy aims to enhance the prospects for sustainable solutions for Afghan returnees.

  • The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran grants the refugee population on its territory access to: medical services, education for students, literacy classes for out-of-school children and the labour market.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern planned for in 2014 are: Afghan refugees, most of whom arrived before 2001 as prima facie refugees; and Iraqi refugees, the majority of whom were registered in 2002 as prima facie refugees. Almost all refugees live in rural and urban areas, with just 3 per cent residing in settlements allocated for Iraqi refugees.

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for the Islamic Republic of Iran
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 845,770 845,770 823,320 823,320 800,800 800,800
Refugees Afghanistan 804,090 804,090 784,090 784,090 764,090 764,090
Iraq 41,590 41,590 39,090 39,090 36,590 36,590
Various 70 70 60 60 50 50
Asylum-seekers Afghanistan 10 10 60 60 50 50
Iraq - - 10 10 10 10
Various 10 10 10 10 10 10

| Response |

Needs and strategies

UNHCR's planning for 2014 will reflect the organization's global strategic priorities (GSPs), elements of the SSAR, and the draft protection framework for refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Office will continue to strengthen asylum space in the country by providing support to the Government, while building refugees' skills and capacities in preparation for sustainable return to their country of origin or departure to a third country. The programme therefore focuses on four main areas of inter-connected needs, namely health, education, livelihoods and durable solutions.

UNHCR will pursue joint efforts with governmental counterpartstostrengthenanddeveloptheprotectionframework for refugees, including facilitating and implementing available durable solutions. In the area of livelihoods support, UNHCR will ensure that any vocational training opportunity is linked to a business plan or to opportunities for refugees to gain skills that will facilitate the process of reintegration upon return to their country of origin. The health insurance scheme for refugees will be continued. This is very important for vulnerable refugees, whose most critical medical needs can thus be addressed.

| Implementation |

Coordination

The Office's main partner in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains BAFIA for refugee issues, as well as for coordination with all other actors in the areas of health, education and livelihoods. In 2014, UNHCR will continue to coordinate with WFP to provide food rations for vulnerable refugees in settlements. IOM will match job opportunities in Afghanistan for qualified highly-skilled Afghans, who are ready to return. UNHCR will maintain collaboration with UNODC in drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for Afghan refugees. Through joint efforts with UNDP, UNIDO, the Technical and Vocational Training Organization, and the World Relief Foundation, UNHCR will support livelihood projects.

In the area of education, the Ministry of Education will be UNHCR's main counterpart. The Ministry of Health will remain the key actor in providing health services to refugees.

2014 UNHCR partners in Islamic Republic of Iran
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Bureau for Alien and Foreign Immigrants' Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, State Welfare Organization of Iran, Technical and Vocational Training Organization
NGOs: Chain of Hope, Danish Refugee Council, Iraqi Refugee Aid Council, Kowsar Scientific and Cultural Foundation, Norwegian Refugee Council, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Rebirth Charity Organization, Society for Recovery Support, The Association for Protection of Refugee Women and Children, The Society to Protect Children Suffering from Cancer, World Relief Foundation
Others: UNIDO
Operational partners
NGOs: Caritas, Family Planning Organization, Global Partners, International Consortium for Refugees in Iran, Médecins sans Frontières, Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development, Relief International
Others: FAO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNODC, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

Over the past several years, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in the Islamic Republic of Iran have steadily grown from USD 36.5 million in 2010 to a revised 2013 budget of USD 59.6 million, to address the increasing needs of Afghan and Iraqi refugees. In 2014, the operation's financial requirements are set at USD 69 million, an increase of USD 9.4 million compared to the revised 2013 budget. This is due partially to an increase in the number of vulnerable individuals relying on UNHCR's support, owing to rising costs in the country.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Style of Address The UNHCR Representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Street Address No 3, East Emdad Street, North Shiraz Ave , Vanak Sq,1991775941, Tehran
Mailing Address No 3, East Emdad Street, North Shiraz Ave , Vanak Sq,1991775941, Tehran
Telephone +98 21 429 39 (Switchboard)
Facsimile +98 21 89 349 900
Website http://www.unhcr.org.ir/
Email irnte@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:30
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 16:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 16:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 16:00
Thursday:8:30 - 16:00
Friday:Weekend
Saturday:Weekend
Sunday:8:30 - 16:00
Public Holidays 1 Jan - New Year
11 Feb - Victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran
23 Mar - Nowrooz
24 Mar - Nowrooz
2 Apr - Nature Day
12 Jun - Birthday of Imam Mahdi
27 Jul - Eid e Fetr
3 Oct - Eid e Ghorban
2 Nov - Ashoora
25 Dec - Christmas
Comments Isfahan VRC contact information is: +98 311 380 4870 - +98 21 89 349 770 (VoIP)
The UNHCR Sub-Office in Mashhad
Style of Address The UNHCR Sub-Office in Mashhad
Street Address No. 45, Sajjad Blvd, 9187713994, Mashhad
Mailing Address P.O.BOX 91775 – 1876 Mashhad
Telephone +98 511 768 5081 - 84
Facsimile +98 511 768 3017
Website http://www.unhcr.org.ir/
Email irnma@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:30
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 16:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 16:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 16:00
Thursday:8:30 - 16:00
Friday:Weekend
Saturday:Weekend
Sunday:8:30 - 16:00
Public Holidays 1 Jan - New Year
11 Feb - Victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran
23 Mar - Nowrooz
24 Mar - Nowrooz
2 Apr - Nature Day
12 Jun - Birthday of Imam Mahdi
27 Jul - Eid e Fetr
3 Oct - Eid e Ghorban
2 Nov - Ashoora
25 Dec - Christmas
The UNHCR Sub-Office in Kerman
Style of Address The UNHCR Sub-Office in Kerman
Street Address 42, Hezar-o-Yekshab Ave, Jomhouri Islami Blvd, Kerman
Mailing Address 42, Hezar-o-Yekshab Ave, Jomhouri Islami Blvd, Kerman
Telephone +98 341 247 6852 - 53
Facsimile +98 341 247 7746
Website http://www.unhcr.org.ir/
Email irnke@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:30
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 16:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 16:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 16:00
Thursday:8:30 - 16:00
Friday:Weekend
Saturday:Weekend
Sunday:8:30 - 16:00
Public Holidays 1 Jan - New Year
11 Feb - Victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran
23 Mar - Nowrooz
24 Mar - Nowrooz
2 Apr - Nature Day
12 Jun - Birthday of Imam Mahdi
27 Jul - Eid e Fetr
3 Oct - Eid e Ghorban
2 Nov - Ashoora
25 Dec - Christmas
The UNHCR Sub-Office at Shiraz
Style of Address The UNHCR Sub-Office at Shiraz
Street Address Podonak Street, Shiraz
Mailing Address Podonak Street, Shiraz
Telephone +98 711 722 9690
Facsimile +98 711 722 9690 Ext 290
Website http://www.unhcr.org.ir/
Email irnsh@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:30
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 16:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 16:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 16:00
Thursday:8:30 - 16:00
Friday:Weekend
Saturday:Weekend
Sunday:8:30 - 16:00
Public Holidays 1 Jan - New Year
11 Feb - Victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran
23 Mar - Nowrooz
24 Mar - Nowrooz
2 Apr - Nature Day
12 Jun - Birthday of Imam Mahdi
27 Jul - Eid e Fetr
3 Oct - Eid e Ghorban
2 Nov - Ashoora
25 Dec - Christmas
The UNHCR Field Office at Dogharoun
Style of Address The UNHCR Field Office at Dogharoun
Street Address
Mailing Address
Telephone +98 529 425 7355 - 57
Facsimile +98 529 427 3358
Website http://www.unhcr.org.ir/
Email irndo@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:30
Working Hours
Monday:8:30 - 16:00
Tuesday:8:30 - 16:00
Wednesday:8:30 - 16:00
Thursday:8:30 - 16:00
Friday:Weekend
Saturday:Weekend
Sunday:8:30 - 16:00
Public Holidays 1 Jan - New Year
11 Feb - Victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran
23 Mar - Nowrooz
24 Mar - Nowrooz
2 Apr - Nature Day
12 Jun - Birthday of Imam Mahdi
27 Jul - Eid e Fetr
3 Oct - Eid e Ghorban
2 Nov - Ashoora
25 Dec - Christmas
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Islamic Republic of Iran [1]
Refugees [2] 857,354
Asylum Seekers [3] 47
Returned Refugees [4] 1
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 0
Total Population of Concern 857,402
Originating from Islamic Republic of Iran [1]
Refugees [2] 75,043
Asylum Seekers [3] 28,803
Returned Refugees [4] 1
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 28
Total Population of Concern 103,875

Islamic Republic of Iran UNHCR Maps Rss FeedUNHCR Maps

more documents

Afghan Refugees in Iran

At a recent conference in Geneva, the international community endorsed a "solutions strategy" for millions of Afghan refugees and those returning to Afghanistan after years in exile. The plan, drawn up between Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and UNHCR, aims to support repatriation, sustainable reintegration and assistance to host countries.

It will benefit refugee returnees to Afghanistan as well as 3 million Afghan refugees, including 1 million in Iran and 1.7 million in Pakistan.

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