TEHRAN: Iran denounced yesterday a protest outside its Herat consulate in which one person was reportedly killed and demanded more security for its diplomatic missions in neighbouring Afghanistan.
“Police and security forces should have been at the scene quickly to prevent the illegal gathering, the damaging of the mission and disruption of work,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency. “It goes without saying that such behaviour has negative consequences.”
Four people were also wounded when angry demonstrators tried to storm the consulate in the western city of Herat in a protest over visas, Afghan officials said. The Afghan Ambassador Nasir Ahmad Noor was summoned by the foreign ministry in Tehran and told his country should step up security “to prevent similar incidents”, Afkham said.
Abdul Rashid, a wounded demonstrator, said they were protesting because the consulate would not extend their Iranian visas nor return their cash deposits. He said Afghans who applied for an Iranian visa had to deposit at least $400 with the consulate. Thousands of Afghans cross illegally into Iran every year to seek work.
In May, Iranian guards shot dead 10 migrants illegally trying to cross the border from Herat.
About 2.4 million Afghans, including 840,000 registered refugees according to UNHCR figures, live in Iran, many of whom moved there after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. AFP