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UNHCR Calls on Iran to Open Borders to Afghan Refugees - 2001-10-31


U-N High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers has called again on Iran to open its border with Afghanistan to allow refugees to flee hunger and the ongoing military action there.

The commissioner, presently in Tehran for meetings with President Mohammed Khatami and other officials, also wants Iran to set up refugee camps inside its border so that relief aid can get to those people quicker and more easily.

So far, Iran has not responded positively to Mr. Lubbers' requests.

Iran recently said it was willing to set up refugee centers in the "no man's land" between it and Afghanistan, but has resisted doing so inside its own territory. Tehran says it already has some two million Afghan refugees to deal with, and cannot cope with more.

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