Refugee crisis to persist if terrorism not tackled: Iran

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations (UN) has described terror threats in the Middle East as the root cause of the ongoing refugee crisis in the world, saying the crisis will not be settled as long as countries fail to effectively root out terrorism and extremism.

Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the world body, made the remarks on Monday during a UN General Assembly meeting on “global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers.”

He said, “The issue of the displaced and refugees should be resolved fundamentally, since refugees are signs that a problem exists, they are not the problem itself.”

The Iranian diplomat added that the refugees in the Mediterranean region are fleeing violence in their home countries. Most of that violence, he said, is caused by terrorist groups and extremists.

“If we fail to effectively confront terrorist and extremist groups and to eradicate them by discrediting the radical ideologies and the countries that feed them, the refugee crisis will not end,” the Iranian ambassador to the UN said.

Europe is struggling to cope with its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with over 850,000 people having crossed the Mediterranean in order to reach the continent while escaping violence, persecution, and poverty.

Khoshroo further said, “Now, almost the entire world knows that military intervention in some of the Middle Eastern countries over the past decade has, to a large extent, contributed to the creation of the evil that is extremism and that is fed by Takfiri ideologies.”

Addressing the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2013, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani presented a set of proposals for a World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE). In December 2013, the Assembly overwhelmingly voted to approve a resolution based on WAVE, which calls on all nations across the globe to denounce violence and extremism.

Khoshroo, the Iranian UN envoy, added that the attitude of the international community, particularly the UN, toward the refugees should be unbiased and based on humanitarian principles, saying, “Unfortunately, that has not been always the case.”

He said Iran has on the other hand been hospitable to “millions of Iraqis and Afghans despite receiving minimum international support and attention.”