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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


July 7, 2000

Refugees, unemployment, crime and prostitution

In the recent accusative and truly narrow-minded views expressed about Afghan refugees, geopolitics and demographic realities that are all tied into the economic and political interests of Iran, are being ignored. I'd rather not go into the insulting comments by Mani Shahrokni and Mr Kashani,which are in all reality mere irrelevant reactions to my visceral but noble statements!

There is not enough space for me to explain in great detail the gravity of the situation regarding the burdensome relationship a state and the people of any given country must face to harbor millions of people with no foreign subsidies to speak of ["Not welcome"]. Does the UN give money for housing and education to Iran for these 3+million Afghans? Or the 1+million Iraqi refugees ? According to my understanding, no.

Iran is an independent and sovereign nation-state which has as its primary interest the well being of its own citizens first and foremost. This is a given. In every country in the world, including the United States, there is a limit for the burden people and government can face. These are included and codified in law and economic ability, which has nothing to do with "hospitality".

The treatment between Haitian and Cuban refugees is different because of the political positions the U.S. has taken, etc. Illegal immigration is not advantageous to any society, including the illegal immigrant for many societal reasons. If you are living on the fringes of society, alienation may occur-- results are drug abuse, violence, prostitution and disease.

This is a serious issue for Iran. In a recent report, the Iranian government has acknowledged that there are 2 million drug addicts in Iran and that hard-currency prostitution is a major problem. The average age for Iranian girls for this job is now as young as 20. The reasons were cited to be "economic hardships and new social freedoms" coupled with the "access to external information" raising the heights of expectations of the vast majority of the youth. Iran is more than half urban now, did you know that?

I don't claim to be a genius but I do know that I am intelligent enough to figure out that 4 to 5 million "young aliens" out of Iran's population of 67 millions are taking lower end jobs and decreasing the availability for jobs. You have said, that I have "blamed their own problems on poor immigrants...who contribute to the growth and prosperity of their country without asking much in return."??And then you have the audacity to infer that I do not understand empathy by saying "why not live in their conditions"??

I ask you, is it practical to burn ones hand to know that fire burns?? No. Sympathy for the plight of any group of people in peril is understandable. But what have the international powers done to help Iran when the Arabs invaded and killed and looted, other than send every available military hardware to Saddam??

And what has the Taliban done to STOP THE FLOW OF HEROIN TO IRAN??? Nothing. They have insulted Iranians by killing diplomats, journalists,and then push their Sunni-compatriots to Iran. What has Pakistan done for Iran, except build up this barbaric group of animals and then expect the Iranian people to deal with people who do nothing but commit disorder in the eastern-provinces. If anyone ought to pay it should be the Pakistani, Saudi, and U.S. who ought to pay for the rebuilding of Afghanistan and start paying the Iranians for being too generous.

I don't have to live in Iran to know what the demographic shift can do, but I have been there and will go there more frequently. And let me tell you, if the Iranian girls who are prostituting themselves off of streets in Tehran are doing so because Afghan women can underbid them in the job market, they deserve a break, or if the Iranian addict is smoking Taliban-grown opium because he can't find a labor job cause some worthless, unscrupulous Pashtoo can only rob his house, then you need a reality check -- maybe you could understand to empathize with your own compatriots in peril.

A refugee is not supposed to be a permanent part of the demographics by the way -- that's why they call them "refugees" who need eventual repatriation!

And, finally, why do I have to see these Arab-Iraqis picnicking in some parks as so-called "refugees" in Tehran when I travel there?? I don't care who they are; they should be put on buses and shipped to the border and let Saddam have them, and if he won't take them then put them on a boat and send them to Kuwait. After all, those rich Arabs can always use more "kolfats and nokars"!

Cyrus Raafat


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