Islamic Republic of Iran


Operation: Opération: Islamic Republic of Iran



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
129,560  refugees were enrolled in the Universal Public Health Insurance scheme (UPHI), out of whom 112,735 were vulnerable refugees
18,680  people with specific needs received support
2,100  over-aged children and adults refugees benefitted from literacy trainings
11 schools for refugee and host community children were constructed
2018 planning figures
89% of primary school aged refugee children will be enrolled in primary education 
80% of Afghan and Iraqi refugee households will have their basic and domestic items needs met
300 Afghan refugees will be provided with entrepreneurship/business training
15 projects benefiting local and displaced communities will be implemented and 1,660 households will be reached with cash support
39 schools will be built to ensure that 15,600 refugee and host-community children benefit from additional schooling space

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2017 979,525
2016 979,537
2015 979,491


[["Refugees",979435],["Asylum-seekers",84],["Returned refugees",6]]
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Islamic Republic of Iran

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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[59.5882886,68.48044209,72.823781737,76.76538033,97.24654417,98.75662219],"expenditure":[38.43715452,30.14519856,21.93132368,36.211779,35.12314787,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[59.5882886,68.48044209,72.823781737,76.76538033,97.24654417,98.75662219],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[38.43715452,30.14519856,21.93132368,36.211779,35.12314787,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the second largest host country worldwide of Afghan refugees, in spite of socioeconomic challenges. The Government continued to develop and implement progressive refugee policies, such as the inclusion of refugees into the national health and education systems. While refugees formally have access to employment in some 87 different job categories, a large number of them also work informally in other industries.
While the voluntary repatriation remains as the preferred solution, conditions in Afghanistan are not conducive for a large-scale return. In 2017, nearly 1,200 Afghans opted for repatriation, with 70 per cent of them with the intention to return to the Islamic Republic of Iran to pursue tertiary education. Resettlement remains a durable solution for only a very limited number of refugees, as the resettlement quota has significantly decreased from 2016; only 515 refugees were able to depart to third countries in 2017.
The Government has been calling for equitable and predictable responsibility and burden sharing, having hosted a very large refugee population in protracted situation during the last four decades.  UNHCR has been working jointly with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the broader international community to garner stronger international support for refugees and the Government’s inclusive policy.

Population trends

The Islamic Republic of Iran hosted some 950,000 Afghan refugees and almost 30,000 Iraqi refugees. The majority, 97 per cent, lived in urban areas while 3 per cent resided in 20 settlements managed by the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA). Approximately 620,000 Afghans who hold Afghan passports and Iranian visas also lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Government estimated that approximately 2 million undocumented Afghans also lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Amayesh XII registration was initiated end-2017, with more than 90 per cent of the registered refugee population re- renewing their Amayesh cards. In a significant development, a headcount exercise targeting certain undocumented groups was furthermore implemented as a step towards documentation of those staying in an irregular manner in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Government. Approximately 800,000 were listed.

Key achievements

In 2017:
  • 1,384 refugees benefitted from vocational and technical trainings.
  • 20 community based activities were implemented expanding UNHCR reach out and contributing to peaceful co-existence.
  • Some 10,460 extremely vulnerable refugees in dire need of support or with protection concerns benefited from one-off multi-purpose cash interventions.
  • More than 420,000 children were enrolled in public primary and secondary schools. Among them 110,000 undocumented children.

Unmet needs

  • 25 schools to accommodate some 10,000 Afghan and host community children were not able to be constructed to allow children to learn and study in safe and adequate learning environment, due to limited educational infrastructure.
  • Some 4,400 vulnerable households in need of cash support to alleviate critical financial burden to meet their basic needs until alternative solutions are sought, were not able to be assisted.
  • Over 3,000 refugees could not have access to a range of livelihood opportunities.
The 2017 overview for this operation will be uploaded and available shortly.