Mostafa Khoshcheshm Iranian international affairs expert said that besides the nuclear and military fields, Iran could use immigration policy to exert pressure on the U.S. to get it to resolve the conflict rather than trying to contain Iran. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on IRIB Ofogh TV (Iran) on August 8, 2021. Khoshcheshm referred to an interview that former deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi gave to channel 2 (Iran) in 2019, in which he said that Iran may resort to deporting the three million Afghans living in the country if U.S. sanctions continue (see MEMRI TV clip no 7222 ). He said that he is not only speaking about Afghan immigrants, but also of immigrants from Sri Lanka and other countries to the east of Iran, who wish to pass through Iran on the way to Europe. Khoshcheshm added that the waves of immigration have caused "great changes" to the policies of the European Union, and he gave the Brexit as an example. He said that a country under sanctions has other "economic priorities" than spending billions every year on stopping immigrants from flooding Europe. Khoshcheshm said that the Europeans paid Turkey 6 billion (Dollar) so that it would block the Syrian refugees, yet Iran has not been paid a "single Riyal."
Mostafa Khoshcheshm: "You have so many levels of pressure [that can be employed] against America, and you have to bring them forth in order to force it to approach us, in an effort to resolve the conflict, rather than try to contain us. These [levels of pressure] begin with the nuclear field, as everybody knows - the degree of enrichment, different kinds of centrifuges, and so on - and ending with the military field in the region, including missiles and UAVs. You can do many things that will turn into levels of pressure. There are other areas besides these two. One of these is the field of immigration. We can do a lot of things in the field of immigration. Mr. Araghchi talked about it on TV. It should not have said it there. It was a wrong medium and besides, it shouldn't have said it on Iranian TV..."
Interviewer: "With regards to the Afghans?"
Khoshcheshm: "Not Afghanistan. In principle, many immigrants come from our eastern borders. They come from Sri Lanka and elsewhere, but do not want [to stay] here.
"All they want is to pass through here and reach Europe. Every year, we spend several billions just to stop them. Why? A country under sanctions should have other economic priorities. They should be let go. In the previous round, they came from [Sri Lanka], Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and as far as the eastern parts of the EU. So many waves of immigrants came into the European Union that this caused great changes in the policies of the EU.
"Brexit in England - one of the main reasons that people voted [for it] so hastily and without much consideration was this. It was the wave of immigrants. If you use this tool, you can exert a lot of pressure on the European side. The Europeans paid six billion [Dollar] so that Turkey would block the Syrian refugees. Have they paid us a single Riyal?"