According to an Iranian minister, Afghan refugees in Iran must take part in the census.
Non-participation in the census is “illegal,” according to Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who also “called on Afghan nationals to cooperate.” According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, the authorities demands to learn how many Afghans are in Iran in light of the migration following the Taliban takeover last year.
Every few years, Iran conducts a census to quantify the number of its population.
According to the United Nations, there are presently 780,000 Afghan refugees in Iran.
The Iranian government has previously and repeatedly targeted the refugees. According to the United Nations, Iran deported tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban last year. Hunger and cruelty have also been alleged among Afghan refugees in Iran.
The action might further complicate the Islamic Republic’s already tense relationship with the Taliban. Since their emergence in Afghanistan in the 1990s, Iran has had turbulent relations with the extreme Islamist group, and Iranian officials are divided on how to deal with them. Iran sought to normalize relations with the Taliban after their triumph over the former US-backed government last year. The Afghan embassy in Tehran now has Taliban ambassadors assigned inside.
So far, the relationship has had its share of problems. After protests in Afghanistan last month over the treatment of Afghan refugees in Iran, Iran closed its consulates in Afghanistan.