Iran summons Afghan envoy after protesters throw rocks at diplomatic missions

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Iranian teenagers hold the Iranian flag during the celebration of the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

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DUBAI, April 12 (Reuters) - Iran summoned the Afghan envoy to Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian state TV reported, a day after protesters threw rocks at Iranian diplomatic missions in Kabul and Herat over what they called "mistreatment of Afghan refugees" in the Islamic Republic.

The protests began after videos posted on Twitter in recent days showed young Afghan refugees in Iran being harassed and humiliated by ordinary Iranians. Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the videos.

Iranian officials on Monday denied there was any mistreatment of Afghan refugees in Iran, state television reported.

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"The Afghan charge d’affaires in Tehran was summoned in protest over attacks on the Iranian embassy in Kabul and the Iranian Consulate in Herat in Afghanistan on Monday," state TV reported.

Footage on social media, which could not be verified by Reuters, showed a small group of Afghan protesters throwing rocks at Iran's diplomatic missions in Kabul and in the western Afghan city of Herat on Monday.

Iran's embassy in Afghanistan, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the Taliban, which rules Afghanistan, are responsible for the security and safety of Tehran's diplomats and said it would halt consular services in the neighbouring country "until further notice", Iranian state media reported.

But later Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh contradicted the embassy's statement by saying: "All missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Afghanistan are open and continue to operate", Iran's Students News agency ISNA reported.

Although Iran's clerical establishment has had generally good relations with the Taliban, there have been longstanding tensions along the two countries' 900-km (560 miles) joint border, which has active smuggling routes.

Over five million Afghans, both documented and undocumented, live in Iran, Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian as saying last week.

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Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean

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