TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An Iranian deputy foreign minister said Europeans must share the burden of addressing issues facing Afghan refugees, adding that Iran alone could not afford the costs of hosting Afghans while being hit by Western sanctions.
Speaking at a TV program on Saturday morning, Abbas Araqchi said there has been a misunderstanding about what he recently said about Afghan migrants in Iran.
The deputy minister explained that Iran would not consider deporting the Afghan nationals to Afghanistan, adding, “Afghan brothers and sisters will be given new options” such as emigration to Europe.
“Europeans must take on responsibility”, he underlined, saying Europe has to share the burden of covering the costs of Afghan migrants and refugees or even host some of them.
Iran spends $8 billion on Afghan migrants every year in various sectors, Araqchi noted, adding that the countries which caused the displacement of Afghans must accept responsibility and help cover the costs.
Westerners cannot impose sanctions on Iran and at the same time shirk their responsibilities and expect Iran to bear all costs, the diplomat stated.
“The cause of problems and displacement of Afghan people is not Iranians, but primarily Americans and Westerners and those who created and supported terrorist groups in Afghanistan, deployed military forces and set up military bases there, and made a war in the country,” Araqchi added.
In comments on May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran cannot afford the heavy costs of combatting narcotics and addressing the problem of refugees, saying the US measures have disabled Iran from paying billions of dollars in expenses necessary for those plans.
Rouhani underscored that Iran would not pay the costs of the 2015 nuclear deal alone and that all parties have to bear the burden if the nuclear deal is to serve the global and regional peace and security.
The president threatened the JCPOA parties that Iran will have to halt cooperation in the war on drugs and in preventing the influx of refugees if the other parties stand idle and only seek to benefit from the nuclear agreement.