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Number Of Iranians Applying For Asylum In Europe Rises

A group of Iranian refugees, some of them with their mouths sewn shut, protest outside the UN refugee agency office in Athens demanding asylum.
The number of Iranians seeking asylum in European countries has risen steadily over the past two years, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

According to statistics published by Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 1,382 Iranians applied for political asylum in Germany in the first six months of 2011, compared with 952 during the same period in 2010.

The same source says a total of 2,475 Iranians requested asylum in Germany in 2010.

Hamid Nozari, director of the Berlin-based Society for Iranian Political Refugees, told RFE/RL that in comparison with 2009, there was a 111 percent increase in the number of Iranians seeking refugee status in Germany in 2010.

The number of Iranian refugees in other European countries, such as England, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Scandinavia, has risen in the past two years as well, Nozari added.

The majority of Iranians seeking asylum are aged between 25 and 40, Nozari said. They come from different walks of life, and are mostly from large cities.

"Their outlook shows us the new face of Iran and Iranians," he added.

Listen in Persian here