"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has important duties in the region and Iran deems as important its relations with the UNHCR," Zarif said in a meeting with UNHCR Chief Sivanka Dhanapala in Tehran on Tuesday.
The UNHCR's new representative, for his part, called on Iran's relevant bodies to help UNHCR fulfill its duties.
Last week, Deputy Representative of the UNHCR Office in Iran Fathia Abdalla praised Iran's performance in hosting and aiding foreign refugees, specially the Afghans.
Speaking in a meeting with Hossein Esmaeili, the governor of Ardekan city in Yazd province, Abdalla said Iran has been hosting the largest number of Afghan refugees in the past 30 years.
“We are informed that Iran has provided Afghan migrants with various educational and financial support,” she said.
A large number of Afghan refugees, residing in Yazd province—specially the city of Ardekan- have been provided with proper welfare facilities, Abdalla said, praising Iran for its hospitality.
Iran has been a generous host for more than 2 million Afghan refugees for two decades, with little help from the international community.
Tehran has called on the international community to strengthen support for Iran for hosting the Afghan refugees and provide repatriation support for the refugees.
Voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran has slowed in recent years in the face of poor security and economic conditions in Afghanistan, which Tehran blames on the US-led invasion of the country which started in 2001.
The office of the UNHCR was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950.
According to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
UNHCR first opened an office in Iran in 1984 and expanded its presence with the massive influx of Iraqi refugees following the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the start of Afghans' mass return movement to Afghanistan in 1992.
Today UNHCR has its Central office representation in Tehran, plus three sub offices in Mashhad, Kerman and Ahwaz.
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