fighting for survival daily struggle of providing for your family as an afghan migrant in iran
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, Farzad Amiri joined the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who migrated to the neighboring Iranian country. Amiri, who lives with his family of eight in Shiraz, the capital of the southwest province of Fars, found employment at a supermarket.
However, Amiri lost his job last week after the Fars authorities implemented new hiring restrictions for foreigners, making him the family’s lone provider.
According to a directive sent to the provincial union leaders on May 9, members should “strictly” refrain from hiring foreigners as salespeople and shop assistants. Businesses that break the new regulations, which took effect on June 5, risk closure and “heavy fines,” it was added.
My employer informed me that I could no longer work thereafter issuing the order. I haven’t had a job for a week as a result, the father of two told news sources.
He claimed that “a large number” of neighborhood businesses had been forced to let go of their Afghan staff.
Amiri, a native of the western Afghan city of Herat, continued, “I have no idea how I’m going to feed my family after so much effort to reach Iran and with all the difficulties we’ve encountered.” “I sold everything we had there, so I can’t even go back to Afghanistan.”
Unknown is the exact number of Afghans who have been impacted by the order in Fars, which is home to one of Iran’s largest Afghan populations.
The recent restrictions placed on members of Iran’s sizable Afghan community—many of whom have complained of pervasive discrimination and abuse—take place in Fars.
Iran is home to an estimated 3 million Afghans, the majority of whom are undocumented migrants and refugees. Following the Taliban takeover, more than 1 million Afghans have arrived in Iran, though more than half have been expelled by Tehran.
Afghans in the Islamic Republic claim that because of the escalating hostilities between Iran and the Taliban, the government is putting more and more pressure on them.
“Injurious and Unjust”
Foreigners in the province are only permitted to work as hard laborers in agriculture and construction since the order in Fars was issued, according to local media reports.
Mehdi Dehghan Khalili, a local official in the Farsi city of Kawar, was seen in a video posted online on June 6 warning shop owners that they would face fines if they hired foreign workers.
According to Khalili, 25 stores have already been closed in Kawar, and special patrols have been placed throughout the city to enforce the new law.
Afghan immigrant Amir Hossein, who has been residing in Shiraz for more than ten years, has requested that the decision be overturned.
“Our Iranian partners have also been affected by the restrictions,” he said to Radio Azadi. Let’s do this. We are fugitives.
Foreigners residing in the province of Isfahan in central Iran are subject to similar limitations.
Foreigners are only permitted to work manual labor jobs and are not permitted to work in supermarkets or retail establishments, according to Mehdi Naderi, an immigration official in Isfahan, who stated this last month.
If similar restrictions had been put in place in other Iranian provinces where Afghans resided, it was unclear to local authorities.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission’s head, Naeem Nazari, called the actions “insulting and unjust.”
Nazari said, “the Iranian government has consistently practiced discrimination and exploited migrants, particularly Afghan migrants, taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.” This was stated to Afghanistan’s Hasht-e Subh daily.
Afghans have long fled the war and poverty in their country for work in Iran. Tehran has ejected a large number of Afghans—who are frequently held responsible for unemployment and insecurity—and periodically issues threats of mass expulsion against those who have stayed.
Following the decade-long Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the civil war after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, many Afghans migrated to Iran. After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, other people sought asylum in Iran. Some Afghans traveled to Iran in search of employment following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
Iran claims to be the home to up to 5 million Afghan refugees, and officials lament the lack of financial support they have received from the international community.
Bilateral Relations Getting Worse in Iran & Afghan
Iranian-born Afghans claim they have been adversely affected by the escalating hostilities between Tehran and the Taliban.
Last month, deadly clashes broke out as a result of an argument over shared water resources. Following the deaths of troops from both sides on May 27, tensions are still high.
An Afghan immigrant who lives in Fars told Radio Azadi that “many Afghans move to Iran due to economic issues but regrettably Iran uses them to pressure the rulers in Afghanistan.”
The Afghan immigrant continued, “The environment has gotten tougher for Afghans in Iran,” but he wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. We sincerely hope that Iran resolves its differences diplomatically and adopts a humane perspective when it comes to Afghan refugees.
Southeast Iran, which is suffering from a drought, depends heavily on water flows from Afghanistan coming upriver. Tehran has urged the Taliban to release more water from the Helmand River, which supplies the Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran’s southeast with lakes and wetlands.
Tehran’s claims that it is breaking a bilateral water treaty signed in 1973 have been refuted by the Taliban, who also asserts that even if dams were opened, there would not be enough water to reach Iran.
A Sistan-Baluchistan lawmaker named Mohammad Sargazi stated in January that Tehran should think about deporting Afghan refugees if the Taliban does not grant Iran its fair share of water from the Helmand River.
On June 11, a security official from Iran claimed that nearly 19,000 Afghans had been expelled in the previous two weeks for residing there illegally.