Iraq has expelled some 60,000 Iranian men, women and children in the past few days, according to the Iranian Red Lion and Sun (Red Cross) society.
Iraq has expelled some 60,000 Iranian men, women and children in the past few days, according to the Iranian Red Lion and Sun (Red Cross) society. On Friday (31 December), a long line of coaches and lorries stood by the roadside at Khorsrawi, on the Iranian side of the border with Iraq. According to Teheran, the Iraqi move is partly motivated by a desire for retaliation for the Iranian seizure of the Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb. The Iraqis say the refugees have entered the country illegally and are creating social and health problems.
SYNOPSIS: The lonely Iranian area of Khorsrawi....on the border with Iraq. It's here that Iranian refugees from Iraq have been coming in the past few days. According to the Iranian Red Lion and Sun Society -- as the Red Cross is known -- some 60,000 Iranian men, women and children have been expelled from Iraq in recent days. The Iranians claim that the refugees were driven out in convoys of coaches and lorries and just dumped at the border. These vehicles were part of last Friday's total. It's reportedly very cold there at this time of the year, and few of these people have any place to go. The Iranians say the Iraqi action is motivated by a desire for revenge for the Iranian occupation of the Persian Gulf islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb early last month. Iraq cut diplomatic relations with Iran over that action. Iraq has told the United Nations that she's been expelling Iranians who've entered the country illegally and had created social, economic health and security problems. Special camps are being set up by the Iranians in an effort to house the refugees.
Officials in Teheran say that Iraq has expelled something like 100,000 Iranian citizens since 1969. Relations between the two countries deteriorated then during a dispute over navigation rights in Shatt al-Arab. That's an estuary of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers shared jointly by both countries. It's claimed that some of those who've been expelled have been maltreated and tortured before being taken to the border and left there. Teheran officials say Iraq is determined to create problems for Iran because of its occupation of the Gulf islands.
Here at the border post, the refugees are still coming. Iraq has ordered Iranians out of several Iraqi cities, including Baghdad and Basra. The Iranians' problems are magnified because of their fears that Iraqi agents have been sent in with the genuine refugees. So far, Iran hasn't taken any action over the expulsions, but they've strengthened their border defences. They say they're ready for emergencies.