How Dual Nationality became a Key Controversy in Iran

Subsequently, lawmakers prepared a proposal to identify and investigate government officials with dual citizenship and green cards. The plan was ratified by the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in the spring of 2015 and was submitted to the ninth parliament — but was never reviewed in an open session.

However, an Oct. 4 meeting between the intelligence minister and the members of the parliamentary commission has once again highlighted the need for such a plan. Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the parliamentary commission’s spokesman, said in this regard, “Due to existing legal vacuums, there may be more government officials who hold dual nationality but have not yet been identified by the Intelligence Ministry. The goal of such a plan is to help identify such cases.”

Based on Article 41 of the constitution, Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, and if an individual acquires the citizenship of another country, his or her Iranian nationality will be revoked. This, however, requires certain legal procedures that if not pursued will result in the individual’s foreign citizenship not being officially recognized. According to Article 989 of Iran’s civil law, such persons are prohibited from holding government positions.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a prominent Reformist political activist and former member of parliament, described senior Iranian officials holding dual nationality as something akin to indecent. According to Asgharzadeh, Reformists and Principlists generally share the same view on this issue.

However, he told Al-Monitor, “The Principlists who are opposed to the administration — particularly after the recent [Feb. 26] parliamentary elections [that saw many government supporters elected] — try to blame the government and turn the issue of dual nationalities into one of [national] security.”

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