In small groups, they cross the streets and alleys of the Iranian capital (Tehran) daily in search of a job. They are the Afghan refugees "threatened by wars and came to their western neighbor to escape the insecurity that worsened after the Taliban took control of Kabul," according to Afghan refugee Muhammad Hosseini.

Hosseini tells - to Al Jazeera Net - the suffering of smuggling him to Iran in search of a way to cross towards Europe, stressing that he and hundreds of other people who had gathered in the past period in Azadi Square (west of Tehran) had collided with the border wall that Turkey built on its border with Iran.

Afghan immigrants gather mainly in Azadi Square, Jitaker Lake and the park surrounding it, west of Tehran, as well as the town of Ray and its suburbs south of the capital, as a visitor these days to these areas may think that he is in Afghanistan.

conflicting numbers

Iran was no stranger to Afghan immigrants. Since the 2001 American attack on Afghanistan, Iran has hosted about 4 million of them. However, after the Taliban returned to power last summer, the number of refugees doubled, and there are no longer accurate statistics about them in the country, according to the Migration Observatory in Iran. .

After Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that the number of the Afghan community in the country was about 5 million, Persian press reports said that this number had risen after the recent wave of Afghan immigration to more than 8 million.

In this context, the Director-General of Iran's International Transport Authority, Jawad Hedayati, revealed that about 5,000 Afghans enter every day, while Majid Mir Ahmadi, the security assistant for the Iranian Ministry of Interior, said that the number of Afghan refugees does not exceed 1,000 per day.

Observers in Iran believe that because of the illegal entry of many Afghan refugees, they are now forming a state inside Iran.

Iranian workers complain about unemployment caused by the entry of large numbers of Afghan workers to Iran (Reuters)

Attack and accusations

Following the recent terrorist attack in the Shrine of Razavi in ​​the city of Mashhad (northeast of Iran), in which two clerics were killed, Iranian public opinion has become more sensitive to the Afghan reality in their country, after it became clear that the attacker was coming from Afghanistan.

And in recent days, videos have spread on social media that their promoters say show Afghan refugees being tortured in Iran, while Iran, through more than one official, denied these accusations and considered them aimed at sowing division between the two neighboring peoples.

On the other hand, the media published videos of Afghan protests in front of the Iranian embassy and consulate in Kabul and Herat, denouncing what it described as "ill-treatment" of Afghan refugees in Iran, whether from the police or the people.

In response to these clips, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi accused what he described as enemies of working to sow division between Iran and Afghanistan, and warned of their plans to drive a wedge between the two neighboring peoples, while some official media in Iran were keen to publish pictures of President Ibrahim Raisi's attendance at a banquet. Iftar in the presence of a number of the Afghan community in Iran.

Economic repercussions

Away from politics, economists warn of the negative repercussions of the increasing number of Afghan immigrants on the country's economy, which suffers from US sanctions and difficult economic conditions.

For his part, Manouchehr Bahroyan, an economist, warned of a coming crisis in the housing sector due to the high demand on the rental market, stressing - in a statement to the Iranian newspaper Shargh - that his country, which suffers from water scarcity, will also face a crisis in the habitable lands sector as a result of what he described as the torrent of Afghan immigration to Iran.

In this context, the head of the Construction Workers Union, Akbar Shawkat, revealed that Iranian workers' complaints have recently increased due to unemployment resulting from the entry of large numbers of Afghan workers into their country, stressing that some Afghan immigrants have turned into contractors and that they only employ the Afghan community, explaining that the workers Afghans are now controlling some professions in Iran.

For his part, economist Albert Baghian believes that the increase in the Afghan community in Iran will expose the country to a budget deficit due to the high demand for government-backed goods, warning that the continued pace of Afghan immigration will lead to high inflation and an increase in the poor class in Iran.

The Iranian side, despite the huge numbers of immigrants, is keen to provide the basic necessities for a decent life (German)

Decent life

And about how the official Iranian deal with Afghan immigrants, Al Jazeera Net asked the director of the "Payam Aftab" Center for Afghan Studies, Abdul Rashid Mesbah Zadeh, who confirmed that the conditions in which his compatriots live in Iran are much better than what they lived in Afghanistan.

Mesbahzadeh referred to the linguistic, historical, cultural and ethnic commonalities between Iranians and Afghans, stressing that the Iranian side, despite the huge numbers of immigrants, is keen to provide the basic necessities for a decent life, especially treatment, education, housing and work.

Mesbah Zadeh described the widespread videos of the torture of Afghans by Iranians as fabricated, and aimed at sowing discord between the two peoples, and expressed his hope that the awareness of the Iranian and Afghan sides would miss the chances of the success of this conspiracy hatched by the enemies, he said.

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