An Iranian official has said that Afghan immigrants have been barred from residing and working in 16 provinces across the country.
Following a directive from the Supreme National Security Council, eight stages of a plan to “identify, arrest and expel illegal citizens” have been implemented in Kermanshah since the beginning of the year, the director-general of Foreign Nationals and Immigrant Affairs in the province told ISNA news agency on December 3.
Hamzeh Suleimani did not name the 15 other provinces where the presence of Afghan nationals is prohibited, but local media have identified them as East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Lorestan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Gilan, Mazandaran, Sistan and Baluchistan, Hormozgan, and Hamedan.
The Supreme National Security Council and the Ministry of Interior did not immediately confirm the ban on Afghans in 16 provinces.
In recent weeks, there have been reports and videos circulating in Iran showing acts of violence against Afghan refugees.
In one incident, which followed the killing of a 17-year-old boy in Meybod, several people attacked and set fire to the homes of Afghans in the city.
Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi has recently said he had requested the Taliban-led government in Kabul to facilitate the return of Afghan refugees to their country.
Vahidi estimated the number of Afghans living in Iran at around 5 million. He said that "legal immigrants will be issued a unique code for identification purposes, not ID cards."