UN official warns US sanctions on Iran might cause mass inflow of refugees to EU

Sputnik – The sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran may provoke a large influx of refugees into Europe, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said at a press briefing on Monday.

“If this impact [from sanctions] grows, you may see, there is a lot of mobility there, and the mobility is not just between Afghanistan and Iran, mobility is also onward. We have seen refugees that have spent a lot of time in Iran moving on to Turkey, and then to Europe,” Lowcock said.

The official added that the United Nations had alerted European countries about this possibility.

“We have alerted European countries, that since they are very much involved in the whole political discussion around sanctions, they should keep that factor in mind as well,” he said.

Lowcock stated that US sanctions had already had an impact on the value of Iran’s currency, which has taken a toll on refugees.

“There are sanctions, US sanctions now and that pressure is already visible. The rial, the national currency is precipitating in value; purchasing power for many people is highly reduced. This affects everybody. This affects also the refugees,” Lowcock said.

The US administration in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which eased sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The first set of economic restrictions, including a ban on purchasing US currency, trading in gold and other precious metals, buying aluminum and steel for industrial purposes, and performing activities related to Iran’s sovereign debt, took effect on August 7. The second portion, including sanctions on Iran’s port operations, energy sector, and foreign transactions, will be effectuated in November.