Tuesday, December 20, 2011 – According to officials in the interior affairs ministry of Iran, around 900,000 Afghan illegal refugees are residing in Iran.

The Iranian government has provided an ultimatum of at least 3 months for all the illegal Afghan refugees in Iran to repatriate back to their homeland.

General Manager of the foreigners in Iran’s ministry of interior affairs Mohammad Tahuri said, the Afghan families will be given a three months period from the expiry date of their refugee cards to prepare for the repatriation to their homeland.

Mr. Tahuri further added, each individual will paid around $150 for a volunteer repatriation and will be provided with the transportation in addition to the monetary assistance by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In the meantime, a Quartet session between Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Japan was due to be organized in the city of Tokyo to assess the issues of Afghan refugees.

But Mr. Tahuri said, the Quartet session has been rescheduled and will be held in another Asian country.

The repatriation issue of Afghan refugees is considered to be among the most critical issues of Afghan government in the recent years.

On the other hand, instability and lack of employment are the main factors which prevents Afghan families to repatriate back to their homeland.

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    Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.