Iran says it will welcome Afghan girl students after Taliban suspends education

A screenshot of women’s gathering at a house in Abshar district in Panjshir, July 19, 2022.

An Iranian MP Mehdi Esmaeili said on Saturday that if the Taliban do not reverse their decision to ban higher education for women, then Iran is ready to host female university students from Afghanistan.

In an interview with Iran’s ISNA, Esmaeili said: “Unfortunately, with the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan, girls have been deprived of education. This is completely contrary to human rights conventions.”

Esmaeili also said that a considerable number of Afghans are already studying in Iran.

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Iran regrets to hear the news that Afghan girls and women are facing obstacles in studying at universities.

He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran hopes the Taliban allow women to resume their studies – at all levels, including secondary school.

In a statement issued on the ministry’s website, Kanaani said: “Iran, as a neighbor of Afghanistan that is interested in peace, stability and development in the country, regrets to hear the news that Afghan girls and women are facing obstacles for studying at universities.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran hopes the relevant officials in Afghanistan pave the way for the resumption of education for female school and university studies at all levels so that they can enjoy their right to acquiring knowledge and science and play a more effective role in the development and prosperity of the country,” he said.

Iran is home to over 800,000 registered refugees and some 2.6 million undocumented Afghans. Today, more than 500,000 Afghan children – including undocumented Afghans and those who have newly arrived in Iran following the Taliban-takeover – are benefitting from Iran’s education policies, ISNA stated.

According to Mohammad Mohammadi Masoudi, an official with the Ministry of Science, 25 percent of 108,000 foreign students studying in Iranian universities are Afghan nationals.