IRAN DENIES RECEIVING EVIDENCE OF AFGHAN MIGRANT DROWNINGS
Iran’s judiciary has denied receiving evidence that the Afghan government says has been handed to an Iranian diplomatic team over the drowning of dozens of Afghan migrants on the border between the two neighboring countries.
The remarks were made by Shukrullah Barhami, head of the Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces of Iran, who said the Iranian side has not received any evidence of the May 2 incident.
Findings of the government’s probe team indicate that 46 Afghan nationals were “forced by the Iranian border force” to cross the Harirod River, leaving 12 of them dead, 17 missing and 17 others who survived.
In another incident on June 6 in Yazd province, Iran, at least three Afghan nationals were killed after their vehicle was shot by Iranian police and their car caught fire, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But the Afghan Foreign Ministry said that a probe team of the Afghan government handed documents and evidence to Iranian consulate in Herat following its investigation and interviews from seven persons who survived the incident.
Amid these remarks, a delegation from Afghanistan led by acting Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited Tehran on Sunday where they met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, delegates from both sides discussed recent incidents involving Afghan citizens, probed into these incidents, and looked for ways to prevent them from repeating, as well as ways to boost cooperation between the assigned committees on a comprehensive cooperation document.
The Afghan delegation led by Atmar included representatives of seven ministries, five independent directorates, the Presidential Palace and the National Security Council, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
“The two sides agreed that the assigned committees hold comprehensive talks and that the two countries work on recent incidents involving Afghan citizens on the border with Iran, and in Iran, to complete their probe and make efforts to prevent the incidents from repeating,” said Gran Hewad, spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Rights organizations in Afghanistan have called on the government to treat such incidents against Afghan nationals in a serious manner.
“We call on the diplomatic offices of Afghanistan to probe the incident thoroughly and for the investigations to be free from political decisions,” said Naeem Nazari, the deputy head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
“The Afghan government have brought the issue to international courts and the United Nations Security Council,” said Khalid Assad, an MP.