Iran seals off border with Afghanistan to prevent influx of refugees

Saturday, September 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iran has ordered its security forces to seal off the border with Afghanistan to prevent Afghan refugees from entering the country in case of a U.S. retaliation for the terror attacks, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.

In a statement carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, the ministry said its military and police forces have been deployed along the 560-mile border to prevent the Afghans from crossing over ``in the aftermath of the probable U.S. attacks.''

Iran has condemned Tuesday's attacks, but did not say if it plans to join an international coalition against terrorism being assembled by the United States. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia is under fire for harboring suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, who is a prime suspect in organizing the airborne strikes on New York and Washington.

Iran has said it cannot accommodate the new arrivals, citing more than 2 million Afghan refugees already in the country.