0305 GMT November 29, 2021
“Iran is host to some 3.6 million Afghan refugees, and unlike Turkey, doesn’t get billions from the EU for minding them,” Mick Wallace, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from South Ireland, tweeted on Tuesday.
“Another 300,000 have entered since Taliban took over Afghanistan – instead of financial support, Iran gets sanctions,” Wallace said, adding that: “Does EU care about Afghan refugees?”
His comments came a day after Iran’s mission to the EU warned that the Afghan refugee crisis was “intensifying” ahead of winter, putting “increasing pressure” on neighboring countries.
“Preventing a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and among the refugee population is a shared global responsibility, the Brussel-based Iranian mission said in a tweet.
The mission called for “concrete international support” for Iran.
Afghanistan is facing what UN agencies have described as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters”.
The Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in mid-August, which came after the United States’ withdrawal from the country 20 years after its invasion.
After the Taliban takeover, the US imposed sanctions on the Central Asian country and deprived Afghans of any aid and assistance on the pretext of pressuring the Taliban, Press TV wrote.
However, human rights activists maintain that economic sanctions generally do not punish the rulers, but rather, hurt the population, lead to mass starvation, and fuel extremism in the targeted country.
As a country that has been targeted with unprecedented sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran has sent 13 shipments of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, welcomed Afghan refugees, and tried to engage to some extent with the Taliban to prevent the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy, all the while repeatedly calling on the group to help establish an inclusive government in the eastern neighboring country.
Earlier this month, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Secretary-General Jan Egeland said Iran “cannot be expected to host so many Afghans with so little support from the international community”.
“There must be an immediate scale-up of aid both inside Afghanistan and in neighboring countries like Iran, before the deadly winter cold,” Egeland said, lauding Iran for welcoming and hosting millions of displaced Afghans during the past four decades.
On Monday, a top Red Cross official warned that economic sanctions against Afghanistan are depriving millions across the crisis-wracked country of the basics they need to survive.
The economic sanctions “meant to punish those in power in Kabul are instead freezing millions of people across Afghanistan out of the basics they need to survive,” Dominik Stillhart, operations director at the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a statement on Monday.
“It’s so infuriating because this suffering is man-made,” he added.