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131200ZMAY07 CJ3 JEC (C) ILLEGAL AFGHANS DEPORTED FROM IRAN FACE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS/TRIGGER POLITICAL CRISIS: (Source: AMEMBASSY KABUL 01594, 13 May 07)
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Classification: CONFIDENTIAL / NONE CSTC-A DCG for Pol-Mil Affairs Daily Cable Summaries 13 May 2007 (C) ILLEGAL AFGHANS DEPORTED FROM IRAN FACE DIFFICULT CONDITIONS/TRIGGER POLITICAL CRISIS: (Source: AMEMBASSY KABUL 01594, 13 May 07) Since April 21, Iranian authorities have deported approximately 52,000 Afghans living and working illegally in Iran. UNHCR estimates that there are as many as one million illegal Afghans in Iran in addition to the approximately 920,000 Afghan refugees registered there. IOM conducted an assessment mission to the transit center established by the GoA near Zarany in Nimroz Province on May 11-12 and reports that local mullahs along with provincial and central government agencies are providing for the approximately 5,000 deportees in the center at any one time. According to IOM, some deportees are arriving with signs of abuse. IOM reports that mullahs and provincial and central government officials are providing adequate shelter, food and health care at the transit centers during the deportees, short stay (up to 48 hours), but there are serious concerns about where and how they will be absorbed by communities in Afghanistan. While the Government of Iran had signaled its intent to return the illegal workers, the timing of the action and the methods used invite speculation that it was intended as a message to the Government of Afghanistan.