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Anti-Afghan rioting in Iran

Anti-Afghan rioting in Iran

Iran's reputation for generosity towards refugees has been dented by protests and attacks against Afghans.
24 July 2001
Afghan refugees in Iran. UNHCR/S.Beshsrat

GENEVA, July 24 (UNHCR) - Protests against the presence of large numbers of Afghan refugees have taken place in Iran, and the U.N. Refugee Agency said Tuesday it had raised its concerns with the Interior Ministry.

During the latest demonstrations in Pishva south of the capital of Tehran, residents shouted 'death to Afghans.' Similar slogans were scrawled of the walls of buildings. Afghans reportedly were afraid to leave their homes, including men who normally seek work at the local informal job market.

The Iranian media reported that earlier, on July 6, 100 motorcyclists attacked Afghans in Falavarjan, in Isfahan Province.

Iran has been among the world's most generous hosts to refugees and together with neighbouring Pakistan has sheltered millions of Afghans. The majority of refugees have always lived among the host population, but the recent violent outbreaks appear to have been caused by rising anger among some Iranians who fear the Afghans are taking their jobs.

UNHCR said Tuesday it hoped the recent incidents would quickly end and the agency's regular screening and voluntary repatriation operations in Iran would soon resume.