How Dual Nationality became a Key Controversy in Iran

According to parliamentarian Hosseini, in a joint meeting between members of the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC and the parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Commission in late August, it was stated that “the intelligence agencies of enemy states have a particular focus on dual nationals in the ‘infiltration project’ … enemy countries have focused on all government officials — especially parliament members — and may ‘infiltrate’ through different means such as journalists, economic activists and so on, and compromise them or their family members. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take serious precautions.”

Hosseini also referred to the arrest of Abdol Rasul Dori Esfahani, a member of the nuclear negotiations team who was dealing with banking affairs during the talks. Dori Esfahani, a dual national, was detained in August for allegedly spying. Foreign Ministry officials as well as the Intelligence Ministry have dismissed reports of him being a spy.

Asgharzadeh told Al-Monitor he does not think dismissing officials from government posts due to being dual nationals will interfere in the administration’s work, but believes that it leaves the Principlists’ hands open in leading public opinion. He said, “I think there are no senior officials in the government who hold dual citizenship, and if there are, the administration can easily dismiss them.”

He added, “An official with a [US] green card, residency or dual citizenship is viewed negatively by public opinion. That’s why I think the Principlists can start a propaganda campaign and portray a negative image of the government. However, given the current atmosphere in the parliament, with the majority [of members of parliament] being moderates, I think it is possible to evaluate the issue within legal and judicial frameworks. The administration can also reform the laws with the help of lawyers and limit the activities of dual nationals in political and executive positions in the country.”

Yet, Asgharzadeh emphasized, “The dual nationals who are an asset to the country are the ordinary citizens, intellectuals and writers … who can be valuable and influential in the cultural and social environment of other countries.”

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