Iran denies border guards’ role in harming Afghan citizens
Iran has denied any role of its border guards in a recent incident befalling a group of Afghan citizens at a border region close to the Iranian territory on the Afghan side of the border region between the two countries.
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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi made the comments on Sunday after some reports claimed that Iranian border guards had tortured and thrown Afghans into a river in a western province to prevent their illegal entry into Iran.
"The incident affecting a number of Afghanistan's citizens has taken place on that country's soil and the Islamic Republic of Iran's border guards have denied any involvement in this regard," Mousavi said while expressing sympathy with the families of the victims.
"Taking into account the significance of the issue and in order to obtain accurate information about how the incident took place on the Afghan soil, we have been probing the issue in cooperation with that country's officials," the Iranian spokesperson added.
Afghanistan’s foreign ministry in a statement on Saturday said an inquiry has been launched and a senior official in the presidential palace in Kabul said initial assessments suggested that at least 70 Afghans who were trying to enter Iran from bordering Herat Province were beaten and pushed into the Harirud river.
The Harirud river basin is shared by Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
Iran spends eight billion dollars on Afghan migrants every year in various sectors and has repeatedly complained that the countries which caused the displacement of Afghans must accept responsibility and help cover the costs.
The representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iran, Ivo Freijsen, last month hailed as an "important achievement" the country’s hosting of Afghan refugees for more than four decades, vowing to help the Islamic Republic protect Afghans amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
"As UNHCR, we want to first and foremost underscore and highlight that it has been commendable that Iran has been hosting refugees primarily from Afghanistan for more than 40 years now, which is an important feature and an important achievement, a commendable achievement," Freijsen said.