memri

May 8, 2019
Clip No.
7222

Iranian Deputy FM Abbas Araghchi: If the U.S. Sanctions Continue, We May Have to Ask the Afghans Living in Iran to Leave

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that over three million Afghans residing in Iran might be requested to leave "when the U.S. sanctions have their impact." "It costs the Islamic Republic some eight billion euros a year" in tuition fees and medical benefits for the Afghans living in Iran, he said, in a May 8 interview with the state's Channel 2 TV. "They should know that if they implement such a policy, the Islamic Republic will be forced to take special measures for the sake of its economy." he said. "Whether they go back to their country or go elsewhere - naturally, the choice will be theirs," said Araghchi, referring to President Rouhani's address that day, in which he had said that Iran had "prevented the flood of immigrants to Europe through this region" by "receiving millions of immigrants."

Following are excerpts:

 

Abbas Araghchi: What [Rouhani] said is very true. In the past 40 years, we have been hosting our brothers and sisters from Afghanistan, and also from other countries of course… From Iraq and for a while, from Azerbaijan.

 

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Right now, there are over three million Afghans in Iran. According to some estimates, two million job opportunities have been seized by our good Afghan brothers. According to these estimates, they take 3-5 billion Euros out of our country every year.

 

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Some 460,000 to 468,000 Afghan students, in my opinion, study free of charge in our schools, by a direct order from our Leader. This generosity was demonstrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

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This is a purely humane matter, but each student costs us, on average, 600 Euros… Six hundred dollars a year. This should be taken into account. Over 23,000 Afghan students study in our universities. We are happy to teach them alongside our own students, but this education costs us money every year. Every student costs nearly 15,000 Euros annually, I believe. They enjoy medical services. I believe that 100,000-130,000 Afghans receive medical benefits. They are our brothers and our sisters. We do this out of our own free will, but it costs the Islamic Republic money.

 

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When the U.S. sanctions have their impact, when the monetary resources of the Islamic Republic of Iran become limited, and when the oil sales reach zero… Everything I had said… The president said today… It costs the Islamic Republic some eight billion Euros a year.

 

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They should know that if they implement such a policy, the Islamic Republic will be forced to take special measures for the sake of its economy, and this will definitely have an impact. We might reach the point where we will not be able to bear these expenses, and then we might ask our Afghan brothers and sisters to leave. Whether they go back to their country or go elsewhere – naturally, the choice will be theirs.

 

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From a humane perspective, we don't want to do this, and we won't unless we have to. But if we are forced to do so, America and other countries will be responsible.