Kuala Lumpur, June 22, IRNA – Australian foreign minister said in Canberra on Monday that Australian government ruled out refugee status of Iranians calling them economic migrants saying they will be repatriated as per an agreement with Iranian government.
Julie Bishop made the remarks in a statement to the Australian Parliament.
She confirmed that Canberra has reached a new agreement with Tehran for repatriation of Iranians whose refugee status was rejected.
She called them economic migrants.
She said that the agreement was reached with an Iranian delegation who visited Australia for the purpose last week.
Iran says that the refugees have left Iran through legal procedures and any of them can come back home voluntarily if they wish.
The Australian media and officials last week claimed that Iran has reached an agreement with Australia for forced repatriation of the refugees.
Ali Chegini, managing director of Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Consular Affairs visited Australia last week for negotiations with Australian senior officials.
Iranian government called on Canberra government ro facilitate visa issuance for Iranian tourists and students.
Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Iran demanded the Australian government to provide consular services to the Iranian students, and the Iranian refugees formed the pillar of the bilateral talks.
Australian daily Herald Sun quoted Foreign Minister Bishop as saying that 13,200 of the 52,000 foreign applicants for refugee status in Australia are Iranians, many of whom have demolished their travel documents and paid the human traffickers in Indonesia money to take them to Australia.
She quoted the former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr, as saying that the Iranian refugee applicants had neither been persecuted, nor interrogated, and that they are economic migrants.
An Iranian delegation led by the Managing Director of Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Consular Affairs Office Ali Chegini held talks with the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and that country’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, according to an IRNA report.
The websites of Australian dailies Sydney Morning Herald and West Australia had in their Friday pages focused on those meetings.
According to the dailies, the Australian government has agreed to grant scholarships to the Iranian students in return for return to Iran of those refugees whose refugee status have been rejected, or tourist and work visas for applicants to travel to Australia, as well as facilitating the establishment of consular offices in Sydney and Melbourne.
The report notes that the agreement also asks the Iranian government not to punish the rejected refugees after return to Iran.
Of course the Australian officials sympathizing with the rejected Iranian refugees upon their return to their homeland reminds one of the inhumane conditions in the Australian refugee camps which has throughout these years led to the catastrophic deaths of many refugees.
Julie Bishop in her early spring visit of Tehran spoke about the return of Iranian refugees and asked the Iranian officials to visit Australia as soon as possible to continue the talks about the issue.