Afghan refugees who lack legal documents are being banned from enrolment in universities in Iran.
The Ministry of Science Research and Technology in a letter instructed the universities to not register Afghan students who lack legal documents.
The decision faced criticism from the Afghan students who said that the Afghan embassy in Teheran stopped the extension of the passports and that they are facing extreme difficulties.
Based on the letter, the Afghan students need to return to Afghanistan and only after receiving the passport attached with an educational visa can they travel back to Iran.
“Based on the new procedure of the Student Affairs Organization of Iran in the education sector for the Afghan nationals. All foreign students need issuance of passport,” said Mohammad Khan Talibi Mohammadzai, a Ph.D. student in Iran.
“Many of our students were engaged in studying but they now don’t have the right to study due to the new letter released regarding education,” said Ruqia Hashimi, a student.
The decision of the Iran Ministry of Science Research and Technology faced reactions by the Iranian officials as well.
The director of the Iranian foreign ministry’s west Asia department, Sayed Rasoul Mousavi, said that it is the policy of Iran to facilitate the education of Afghan students in Iran, especially female students.
“The letter is relevant to the Ministry of Science Research and Technology. It (issue) will be fixed with the explanations that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends to the Honorable Ministry of Science,” he said.
Waheeda Faizi, a consulate of Afghanistan in Mashhad said: “We talked with the Islamic Republic of Iran about the issuance of an identification document attached with a letter by the mission (consulate) through the institutions that are working in the education and university area, and that this identification would be honored by them.”
According to unconfirmed figures, more than 110,000 foreign students are studying in Iran, of whom, 33,000 are Afghans.
The Afghan embassy in Iran said that there are more than six million Afghan refugees in Iran including nearly two million without legal documents.