22 March 2004, Volume 7, Number 11
KHATAMI WITHDRAWS 'TWIN BILLS.' President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami announced on 17 March that he is withdrawing proposed legislation that would have increased presidential powers vis-a-vis those of unelected institutions, state television, IRNA, and AP reported. The parliament has passed the legislation, which was introduced in September 2002, but it has been rejected several times by the Guardians Council, which must approve all legislation on Islamic and constitutional grounds. Khatami expressed concern that the incoming conservative parliament would use the bill to reduce presidential powers.
Khatami criticized the Guardians Council's frequent rejection of reformist legislation and conceded his weakness under current circumstances. "The people should know that according to certain dignitaries the president is no longer the second figure after the supreme leader charged with upholding the constitution and defending the rights of the people," he said according to IRNA. "They downgraded the president as an official in charge of logistic affairs of the system." Khatami apologized to the Iranian people, Mehr News Agency reported. (Bill Samii)
CHANGES IN ELECTION RESULTS CAUSE UNREST. The Guardians Council announced on 13 March that it has changed the election results in the Babolsar, Darab, Zanjan, and Tarom constituencies, state radio reported. In Babolsar, all the ballots in three boxes were canceled because the votes were purportedly solicited through "threats and coercion," while the ballots in two other boxes were canceled because the seals on the boxes showed signs of tampering. Ballots in two boxes in Darab were canceled because the votes were found to have been solicited through "threats and coercion." After recounts in Tarom and Zanjan, the overall results were altered, leading to a new winner and two people advancing to a second round.
Provincial and national officials confirmed on 15 March that violent unrest in Babolsar constituency, Mazandaran Province, was a result of the Guardians Council's changing of parliamentary election results there. "Jomhuri-yi Islami" newspaper had reported on 14 March that riots occurred in Fereidunkenar after the Guardians Council canceled all the votes in two ballot boxes used by residents of Babolsar, Bandpay, and Fereidunkenar. Locals reportedly suspected that the move changed the results in favor of conservative Meghdad Najaf-Nejad over reformist Hojatollah Ruhi.
Mazandaran Province Governor-General Mohammad Ali Panjeh-Fuladgaran said the unrest began on 12 March and that people were already sensitized by efforts to change local boundaries, ISNA reported. After people damaged the Friday prayer leader's house on 13 March, he added, police used their batons to stop them from advancing into Babolsar. The next day, Panjeh-Fuladgaran said, locals damaged Islamic Publicity Organization and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps buildings, but their advance on a police station was halted by a fusillade of rubber bullets. There were some arrests, according to ISNA. Sixty-eight people were injured, "Etemad" reported on 15 March.
Interior Minister Hojatoleslam Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari confirmed that account and urged the Guardians Council to consult with security and police officials before making such changes, ISNA reported. Parliamentarian-elect Najaf-Nejad resigned, ISNA reported on 17 March.
Residents of the Badrud district of the Natanz and Qamsar constituency in Isfahan Province responded to rumors about the annulment of election results in their constituency by staging a demonstration on 18 March, ISNA reported. The demonstration consisted of a sit-in outside the office of Badrud Friday Prayer leader Hojatoleslam Hassan Dehshiri, who told the gathering that local officials will convey their desires to Tehran. The sit-in concluded with a resolution calling on the Guardians Council not to undermine people's rights. (Bill Samii)
'ANY ACTION THAT WEAKENS...THE ISLAMIC REPUBLICAN STATE IS NOT PERMISSIBLE.' Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to a journalist's question regarding the permissibility of labor strikes on 15 March by saying that "any action that weakens the sacred Islamic republican state is not permissible," ILNA reported. "They can go through legal channels and report on the matter to senior officials in order to obtain their rights," Khamenei added.
Labor unrest has wracked Iran in recent weeks. The country's teachers ended a one-week strike over pay and living conditions on 13 March, newspapers reported the next day, according to Reuters. An anonymous teacher told Reuters, "We were threatened with being fired if we continued the protests." (Bill Samii)
ANOTHER IRANIAN LEGISLATOR'S RESIGNATION ACCEPTED. The Iranian parliament on 14 March accepted the resignation of Tehran representative Mohsen Armin, IRNA reported. Armin is among the more than 100 legislators who tendered their resignations to protest the Guardians Council's disqualification of incumbents ahead of the February elections (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 16 February 2004). Legislators accepted the resignation of Urumiyeh representative Mahmud Yeganli on 7 March and of Tehran representative Fatemeh Haqiqatju on 23 February, IRNA reported. (Bill Samii)
KHATAMI CALLS ON JUDICIARY TO LEAVE LEGISLATORS ALONE. President Mohammad Khatami said after the 17 March cabinet session that he does not approve of the recent spate of court summonses issued to members of parliament, Mehr News Agency and Reuters reported. Khatami said, "I have negotiated with my brother Ayatollah [Mahmud Hashemi-] Shahrudi [who heads the judiciary] and I know that he is trying to improve the situation." "I call on him to intervene," he added.
Nahavand representative Mohammad Reza Ali-Husseini was found guilty of insulting election-supervisory boards and the Guardians Council, ISNA reported on 16 March.
The Public Prosecutor's Office summoned Tehran parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Khatami on 16 March for making critical comments about the February parliamentary elections, ISNA reported. On the same day, the Public Prosecutor's Office summoned Tehran's Mohsen Armin, whose resignation was accepted just days earlier, ISNA reported. The complaint relates to his interviews about the elections.
Mashhad's Ali Tajernia said on 10 March that he has been summoned to appear before the special court for government employees, ISNA reported. Tehran's Mohsen Mirdamadi and Isfahan's Rajab-Ali Mazrui were summoned for unknown reasons, "Hambastegi" reported on 10 March.
A parliamentary source told ISNA on 7 March about other cases: Kazerun's Mohammad-Baqer Baqeri-Nejad-Fard is to appear in court following a complaint from the police; Sardasht and Piranshahr's Hasel Daseh faces a complaint from the police; Pakdasht's Mohammad Qomi was summoned for unknown reasons; Khavaf and Rashtkhar's Gholam Heidar Ebrahimbay-Salami was summoned in relation to his work for the "Hambastegi" daily; and Isfahan's Ahmad Shirzad was summoned for a speech he made in December.
Tuiserkan parliamentary representative Mohsen Tarkashvand said on 17 March that he believes the summonses are the result of a conservative grudge that dates back to the beginning of the reform movement, ILNA reported. In defense of his colleagues he said, "All those who have been summoned to the court are people who have spent time in prison during the time of the Shah as well as long periods on the war front." Tarkashvand predicted that the conservatives would go after cabinet ministers and provincial governors next.
Tehran Prosecutor-General Hojatoleslam Abbas-Ali Alizadeh denied on 18 March that parliamentarians are receiving court summonses because they submitted their resignations, ISNA reported. Alizadeh did not explain the recent spate of court cases. (Bill Samii)
STATE INSPECTORATE ATTRIBUTES RAILWAY DISASTER TO NEGLIGENCE. The State Inspectorate Organization announced on 17 March that negligence is the "main cause" of the February train derailment in Nishabur, state television reported. The initial derailment of rail cars loaded with cotton, fertilizer, sulfur, and gasoline set off fires and small explosions, but most of the 300 fatalities occurred when a massive explosion killed firemen and observers who had rushed to the scene (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 23 February and 1 March 2004).
The inspectorate's report attributed the high number of casualties to permitting public access prior to determining that the danger had passed, and it recommended that the Khorasan Province Justice Ministry investigate negligent officials and that the government should pay damages to the victims. The report added that the roads and transport minister, as well as the railway's board of governors and managing director, should be held accountable.
Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (http://22.214.171.124/RAI/Farsi) issued a communique on 18 March in response to the State Inspectorate Organization's earlier announcement, IRNA reported. The railways company, affiliated with the Roads and Transport Ministry, said that it has yet to receive the official report from the inspectorate, but has seen copies of it on several websites. The communique said officials from the ministry and the railways company were on the scene immediately after the disaster to clean up the mess and make sure the trains ran on time. The communique responded to the inspectorate report's call for accountability from the roads and transport minister, the railway's board of governors and its' managing director as an inappropriate way of handling the issue. The railways company defended its safety record. (Bill Samii)
RED CRESCENT SOCIETY RECEIVES MONEY FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS. Iran's Foreign Ministry turned over $2 million to the country's Red Crescent Society for its efforts on behalf of victims of the December 2003 earthquake in the Kerman Province city of Bam, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on 17 March (http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=40081). The head of the Red Crescent Society demanded an accounting earlier in the month because only $1.9 million of the more than $11.8 million in foreign funds sent to Iran after the earthquake reached the victims (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 15 March 2004).
The society's public-relations chief, Seyyed Mehran Nurbakhsh, said his boss's complaint prompted the Foreign Ministry to release $2 million to the society and another $5 million to the Economic Affairs and Finance Ministry, irinnews.org reported. This made the total funding to the society about $4 million. But Nurbakhsh added that international donors have not fulfilled their financial pledges as well.
President Khatami echoed this complaint. He said on 16 March, "So far, there has been no news of the big figures that were promised," ILNA reported. "For instance, our southern neighbors promised to give us $400 million but, they set conditions for it and if their conditions are not in tune with our situation, then we might not accept the loan" (Bill Samii)
TEHRAN ANGERED BY IAEA RESOLUTION. The latest resolution on the Iranian nuclear program from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has upset Tehran. Nevertheless, Tehran claims that it intends to cooperate with the nuclear watchdog.
The IAEA Board of Governors on 13 March adopted a resolution on Iran that criticizes the fact that "the declarations made by Iran in October 2003 did not amount to the complete and final picture of Iran's past and present nuclear programme considered essential by the board's November 2003 resolution" (see http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2004/gov2004-21.pdf). The resolution "recognizes that the Director General reports Iran to have been actively cooperating with the Agency in providing access to locations requested by the Agency, but, as Iran's cooperation so far has fallen short of what is required, calls on Iran to continue and intensify its cooperation." There is "serious concern" that Iran's past declarations about its nuclear program have not been complete ones, and the agency says it has uncovered omissions on advanced centrifuge design, laser enrichment, and on hot cells at a heavy-water research reactor. The resolution calls on Iran to be "proactive in taking all necessary steps on an urgent basis to resolve all outstanding issues," and it calls on the IAEA director-general to report on issues raised in the resolution before the board's June meeting.
The resolution's one unambiguously positive comment is the notation of Iran's signing of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol.
Officials including Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi criticized the resolution.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Director-General for International Political Affairs Amir H. Zamaninia responded on 15 March to the IAEA resolution on Iran by saying the finding is being "imposed" by one country and "even an elementary review reveals immediately that it is nothing but a tool to serve a narrow-minded, increasingly isolated conviction," according to a copy of his statement on the IAEA website (http://www.iaea.org). Zamaninia described the resolution as "a serious setback." Zamaninia went over the status of several issues: uranium enrichment and reprocessing, the uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan, the laser-enrichment program, plutonium, polonium-210, contaminated environmental samples, and the P-2 centrifuge design ("overblown disproportionately").
There is "undue pressure on Iran," Zamaninia said in his conclusion, and he referred to a "misrepresentation of facts, over-exaggeration of minor misgivings, and excessive prejudgments," as well as "prejudiced ideological emotions," "the logic of force," and "systematic intransigence." (Bill Samii)
IAEA CALLS ON IRAN TO BUILD CONFIDENCE. IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei told reporters during a 16 March visit to Washington that Iran must help prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, Reuters reported. "I trust that Iran understands the importance to...create confidence," el-Baradei said. "The ball is in Iran's court."
El-Baradei said after 17 March meetings with President George W. Bush and national security adviser Condoleeza Rice that the American officials told him that June is "an important deadline" for Tehran to come clean on its clandestine nuclear program, "The New York Times" reported on 18 March. El-Baradei urged President Bush to help convince the Pakistani government to give IAEA inspectors access to that country's nuclear program. This would enable them to take samples of Pakistani nuclear material and compare it with samples taken in Iran.
Also on 17 March, el-Baradei told the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia that the IAEA has not seen any evidence that Iran is building a nuclear bomb but he has not excluded the possibility, Reuters reported. "The jury's still out."
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani during his 16 March visit to Japan set a date for IAEA inspectors to visit Iran, RFE/RL reported. "The announced date is correct. 27 March is a Saturday after the Noruz holiday. It has been announced that, after 27 March, the inspectors can visit Iran any time they want and there are no conditions." Ambassador to the IAEA Piruz Husseini had announced on 11 March that the inspectors' visit for the next day was postponed because of the pending Noruz holidays (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 15 March 2004).
WHITE HOUSE THROWS COLD WATER ON TALKS WITH TEHRAN. El-Baradei reportedly told officials during his visit to Washington that an Iran-U.S. dialogue could help resolve questions over its nuclear program, Reuters reported on 16 March. El-Baradei said he believes the Iranians are amenable to a deal but are waiting for Washington to make the first move. U.S. officials have said they do not know if the idea emanated from official Tehran or if it is el-Baradei's personal view, and they also questioned which Iranian faction might have produced such a suggestion.
The "Financial Times" reported on 17 March that Iran proposed a "road map" the previous year for normalizing relations that would address the nuclear question, Iran's support for terrorism, and its recognition of Israel. This proposal was submitted to Washington on 4 May 2003 by Switzerland, which represents U.S. interests in Iran. Iran reportedly expected a lifting of economic sanctions, consideration of its security interests, normalization of relations, and the elimination of U.S. "regime-change" terminology. Washington's failure to respond to the Iranian proposal reportedly stems from divisions between "realists" who advocate dealing with the current regime and "neo-conservatives" expecting the regime's internal collapse.
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in an 18 March interview on CNN rejected the need for Washington and Tehran to enter a dialogue, Reuters reported. "The Iranians know very well, through all kinds of channels and public statements, what our problems are in the relationship," Rice said. "So I don't think anybody needs to have a conversation with the Iranians, because they know what the problem is."
Rice described Washington's concerns as its belief that Iran is harboring senior Al-Qaeda personnel, interfering in Iraqi affairs, and trying to develop a nuclear-weapons capability.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi denied on 18 March that el-Baradei is an intermediary, ISNA reported. "Muhammad el-Baradei is not carrying any message from the Islamic Republic of Iran to the American authorities," Assefi said. (Bill Samii)
TEHRAN DISCOURAGES PILGRIMS FROM VISITING IRAQ. Deputy Health Minister Dr. Akbari said on 15 March that although Iranians are eager to visit Shi'a shrines in the Iraqi cities of Al-Najaf and Karbala they should postpone their visits, state radio reported. "Visiting the Iraqi territory at present and under the existing circumstances is definitely detrimental to health," he said. "The reason is that Iraq's health system has totally disintegrated." Akbari cited reports of measles in the north, cholera in the south, and three cases of Rift Valley Fever. He also said drinking water is contaminated with sewage. "We therefore do not recommend such visits," Akbari said. (Bill Samii)
TEHRAN INSISTS THAT BORDER WITH IRAQ IS SECURE. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq has announced that it will close 16 of the 19 official crossing points between Iraq and Iran as of 20 March and require those using the remaining three posts to obtain a permit to enter Iraq, washingtonpost.com reported on 14 March.
CPA spokesman Dan Senor said that individuals wishing to cross the border into Iraq would be required to apply for an entry permit and provide personal information that will be held in a computer tracking system. Meanwhile, CPA head L. Paul Bremer also announced in a statement that the number of Iraqi border police might be doubled from 8,000 to 16,000, the newspaper reported. The move comes in the wake of increased criticism of the coalition for not properly securing Iraq's borders after the 2 March Ashura bombings in Karbala and Baghdad. Foreign fighters have long been suspected of playing a major role in terrorist attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces since the fall of the Hussein regime. Bremer said last week that more attacks can be expected next month in Karbala when 5 million Shi'a Muslims are expected to gather for the religious festival of Arbain (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 19 March 2004).
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said on 14 March that any security problems in Iraq are the fault of the U.S.-led occupation, IRNA reported on 15 March. Assefi said the United States is trying to blame others for security problems in Iraq, and he added, "Americans, wherever they have gone, they have not only failed to boost security but they have also exacerbated the problems; and that is the case now in Iraq." Assefi added that border security is among the topics discussed with a visiting delegation that includes Iraqi Governing Council President for the month of March Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum and IGC member Ahmad Chalabi.
Iraqi Interior Minister Nuri al-Badran told Al-Jazeera television on 12 March that much work needs to be done to secure Iraq's borders and the $60 million allocated to his ministry by the Coalition Provisional Authority would not be enough to carry out that mission, the television channel reported on 12 March. "The border points need radars and electronic detectors...A border point needs a water well, telecommunication devices, cars, radars, fuel tankers, and many other things. A border point does not simply mean 20 or 30 soldiers." He added that security agreements would need to be concluded with neighboring states, and Iraqi customs officials would need to coordinate with the trade, health, transportation, and oil ministries, as well as the coalition forces before they could effectively carry out their work. (Kathleen Ridolfo, Bill Samii)
IRAN PARTICIPATES IN CASPIAN STATUS TALKS. A two-day meeting of the Caspian working group comprised of deputy foreign ministers of the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan) took place in Baku on 16-17 March, Russian and Azerbaijani agencies and IRNA reported. The session -- the 13th round of such talks -- succeeded in coordinating several more paragraphs of a draft convention defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Addressing participants, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Quliyev said he believes agreement on the sea's status can be reached through "constructive compromises and in conformity with international law," ITAR-TASS reported. He welcomed the resumption of talks, suspended two years ago, between Baku and Ashgabat on delineating their respective sectors of the sea on the basis of the median line.
But Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari denounced the bilateral and trilateral agreements signed in recent years between Russia and Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, and those three states on delineating their respective sectors of the sea, IRNA reported. Safari said Tehran will not recognize such agreements as legal until all five states reach agreement on the sea's status, and that Iran continues to demand that the sea be divided into five more or less equal sectors, giving Iran 20.4 percent. Safari further demanded that the Caspian be demilitarized, saying that the presence in the region of foreign troops "only complicates the matter." (Bill Samii)
IRAN, CHINA ENTER GAS AGREEMENT. Zhuhai Zhenrong, a state-affiliated Chinese crude-oil importer, has signed a framework agreement to buy more than 110 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from Iran in 2008-33, the "China Daily" reported on 18 March. From 2008-13, Iran would provide 2.5 million tons of LNG a year, and from 2013 onward it would provide 5 million tons a year. The deal is worth an estimated $20 billion. Zheng Mai, a spokeswoman for Zhuhai Zhenrong, said this is still a preliminary agreement that requires the Chinese government's approval, AFP reported. (Bill Samii)
IRAN ENCOURAGES AFGHAN REFUGEES' DEPARTURE. Millions of Afghans have fled their country over the past 25 years to escape the Soviet occupation, civil war, and the hard-line Taliban. Faezeh Rezai, a 25-year-old woman, is one of them. She moved to neighboring Iran with her family 23 years ago. She says she has no desire to return to her home country.
"I went to [Afghanistan] last year. It was really like hell for me because I couldn't get used to the people. The people could not accept me either, because since I've been in Iran, I've grown distanced from the [Afghan] culture. I'm assimilated with the Iranian culture. Because of that, we really have many problems. For example, as a woman I can't feel free in the [Afghan] society. Afghan women who have lived there are used to staying at home. But for me as an independent women who is used to working outside [the home], it's very difficult to be imprisoned in the house," Rezai said.
The UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimates there are about 1.7 million Afghans still living in Iran. Only about 1 million of them have official refugee status, however. Since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, Iran has been saying that it's time for these refugees to return home.
In April 2002, Iran, Afghanistan, and the UNHCR signed an agreement to encourage the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees. The agreement provides transportation and small amounts of food and money to returnees. Since then, more than 650,000 Afghans have returned home. The agreement ends in March 2005. After that date, Afghans will need a visa to legally reside in Iran. Iran, which is struggling with its own economic problems, wants to speed up the repatriation of Afghans, who are seen as a financial burden on the state.
Last week, Iran's director-general for immigrant affairs, Ahmad Hosseini, said Iran will impose new restrictions in the coming months to encourage Afghans to return home. Under the new regulations, Afghans will have to begin paying for Iranian state education. They will need authorization from the Labor Ministry to work legally. They will also need a permit to open a bank account or to rent accommodation. And Afghans will be banned from living in some Iranian cities.
Touriali Ghiassi is first consul of the Afghan Embassy in Mashad, which has a large Afghan population. Ghiassi says the new regulations will raise the living expenses for Afghans so much that they will be forced to return home. He notes, however, that in the past, many repatriated Afghans simply returned to Iran because of poor living conditions and unemployment in Afghanistan.
"Upon returning to Afghanistan, they face many problems, such as [finding] schools for children, finding a job and a house, which is the biggest problem. They face huge economic pressures, and because of their children and family, they go back [to Iran], where at least they have a bite to eat, a job and a place to stay," Ghiassi said.
Ghiassi categorizes Afghans living in Iran into three groups. In the first group are those who came to Iran because of the occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet troops in the 1980s and the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal. Afghans in this group have lived in Iran for more than 20 years. They have assimilated and have little desire to return.
The second wave of refugees fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of most of the country in 1995. Ghiassi says these refugees are willing to go back since they have closer ties to their homeland, but they want conditions to improve in Afghanistan first.
Ghiassi says the third group is made up of laborers who came to Iran in search of work. He says these workers are in Iran only temporarily. He says most of them routinely travel between Iran and Afghanistan in search of work.
Marie Helene Verney is the UNHCR's spokeswoman in Tehran. She says that, because of the relatively stable political situation in Afghanistan now, many of the Afghans living in Iran can no longer be considered refugees.
"The Iranian government very generously in the past decade has accepted any Afghans who came into Iran as a refugee. From the UNHCR's point of view, we agreed with that definition as long as you had civil war in Afghanistan, [as long as] you had the Taliban in Afghanistan. At the moment, however, if we look at the conditions in Afghanistan, we don't necessarily feel that everyone from Afghanistan who is in Iran is a refugee. At least until March 2005, the [UNHCR] will be continuing voluntary repatriation operation. We think it is important for Afghan refugees to understand that repatriation is the best solution for them," Verney said.
In January, an Afghan delegation led by Bamiyan Governor Rahim Ali Yarzada began a campaign in Iran to promote the voluntary repatriation of refugees. The delegation told the refugees that the province is in need of professional workers in education, health, and engineering.
Verney says living conditions have improved in parts of Afghanistan and that Afghans should seriously consider returning. "We think that in some regions, they are reaching the point where people should certainly seriously consider going back. I mean, if you're looking at places like Kabul, Bamiyan, Kunduz to some extent, we think that certainly it has reached the point where things have gotten better -- [but] they're certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination," Verney said.
Ghiassi, the Afghan consul in Mashad, says that, at the moment, Afghanistan cannot absorb all of the returnees. He says repatriation should be implemented gradually. "At least they should be given time to start a new life in Afghanistan. They should have the right to go there and come back to Iran. It means they should have a return visa so that they can come and go and then settle down with the whole family. It's not easy to return immediately to Afghanistan with a family of six to 10 members and start from zero. Their problems are understandable. We can be successful in the repatriation only when our country will be ready to absorb the refugees in different areas," Ghiassi said. (Golnaz Esfandiari)