Only a third of the total number of Afghan refugees in Iraq are UN-registered as the Iranian authorities have not provided all of them with the opportunity to legally claim asylum. Those born within Iran’s borders do holding UN-recognise refugee status; however, they lack many of the rights granted to Iranian Citizens. A large number of Afghan refugees live without residency documents or access to public services.
Many organisations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), have accused the Iranian government of severe abuses towards Afghan refugees, such as forced deportations, physical abuse, limited job opportunities and restricted access to education
In addition, HRW has reported that Iran has been recruiting thousands of Afghan refugees to fight in pro-government armed groups in Syria. The Iranian governments denied these accusations, claiming that the refugees have volunteered to fight in Syria out of political or religious convictions. The uncertain future for many of these refugees in Iran, together with the lack of resources provided to them, only facilitates the use of Afghan refugees as cannon fodder for war in the Middle East.