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Persecution
The Journey
Life in a foreign land:
- Behind bars
- School of hope
- Clickable guide:
Comparing asylum
- Photo diary:
Life at a camp
- Testimony:
Algerian in exile
- Talking point:
UNHCR chief Ruud
Lubbers took your
questions
The way ahead
World Service radio series
Life in a foreign land: Clickable guide: Comparing asylum
Intro | 1. Pakistan | 2. Iran
3. Germany |4. Tanzania | 5. USA | 6. UK

Iran opened its borders in 1979
2. Iran
Iran hosts 1.3m Afghans and more than 500,000 Iraqi refugees, despite receiving little international aid. The refugees have mainly spread out to towns and cities throughout Iran, and only 5% live in 30 designated camps. Many have found work, especially during the 1980s war with Iraq when so many Iranian men were conscripted to fight. Refugee children can enrol in schools, and Afghans often cite this as a reason not to return to Afghanistan where education for girls is banned. However, pressure is mounting for Afghans to return home - Iran has a growing population of young people and there are fewer jobs to go round. But prospects for large-scale repatriation remain poor, and new refugees continue to arrive.
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