Iran's Interior Minister Abdol-Vahed Mussavi-Lari ordered police on Monday, June 4, to start rounding up and deporting illegal foreign migrants, the state news agency IRNA reported.
The order addressed to Iran's police chief said employers found hiring illegal residents should be subject to "whatever legal action necessary," and for human traffickers to be identified and arrested.
It said the deportation order would apply to all foreigners living in the Islamic republic who have failed to declare themselves to a recent program aimed at identifying immigrants. Iran is home to the world's largest refugee population, most of them from war-torn neighboring Afghanistan.
But the massive influx into Iran is becoming increasingly unwelcome in an economy straining under high unemployment and low investment, while a third year of punishing drought also threatens the country.
A joint program with the UN High Commissioner of Refugees has repatriated tens of thousands of Afghans amid repeated calls from parliament that they are taking badly needed jobs away from Iranian nationals. ― (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)