Afghanistan looking into deaths of three Afghans in Iran after car fire, police shots

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The Afghan foreign ministry said on Friday it is looking into the death of three Afghan citizens in Iran after their vehicle caught fire and being shot at by the police in Yazd province on Thursday.

The ministry said it is in close contact with the Iranian authorities in order to obtain “accurate” information regarding the incident and take “necessary” measures.

Yazd's deputy governor for political and security affairs confirmed on Friday that police officers had shot at a car carrying Afghan nationals on Thursday, but denied the shooting caused the vehicle to catch fire.

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The vehicle that caught fire was one of five vehicles carrying “illegal migrants” and drugs, Ahmad Tarahomi-Behabadi told the official IRNA news agency.

The vehicle crashed into the guard rail when its wheels caught fire due to overheating having traveled eight kilometers past the point where the police shot at it, he said. “The vehicle fire had nothing to do with the police shooting.”

At least three Afghan nationals burned to death and eight others were wounded in the incident.

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Afghans in Iran, the majority of whom come to the Islamic Republic in search of work, face abuse and discrimination from both the authorities and the public. Afghan migrants are only allowed to live and work in parts of Iran.

Reports emerged early May that Iranian border guards tortured and threw dozens of Afghans into a river to prevent their entry into Iran.

A recent survey found that 43.3 percent of Iranians in Tehran are in support of banning Afghans from the capital, 44.2 percent are in support of limiting Afghans’ presence in Tehran to one “special area,” and 40.1 percent are in favor of having segregated schools for Afghan pupils in the capital.

The state-run daily Sharq published the results of the survey on Tuesday. The survey was jointly conducted by the Tehran municipality and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and had a sample size of 1,128.

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