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Iran MP Says 100 Officials Carry US Green Cards Or Another Citizenship

“100 of the Islamic Republic’s top officials are US permanent residency (green card) holders”, a member of Iranian parliament’s research arm has disclosed.

In an interview with Tasnim news agency, run by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, a conservative MP, Hossein-Ali Haji-Deligani said on Tuesday, January 16, that research concerning senior officials who are green card holders, has been delivered to the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission last Monday.

The Islamic Republic ratified a motion last November, paving the way for investigating the cases of top Iranian officials who have dual citizenship or carry US green card.

“The 33-page report, with forty pages of documents and appendices, show that one hundred of the senior officials of the country have either dual nationality or carry US green cards,” maintained Haji-Deligani.

Insisting that the names of these top officials have been listed in the report, Haji-Deligani implicitly accused Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif of negligence, “While probing the case, we found out that there was no supervision over those with dual citizenship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

Directly criticizing the Interior Ministry, the conservative MP said, “The Interior ministry has failed to identify those who have dual citizenship”.

But if American dual-citizens hold top positions in the Islamic Republic, it could also be an issue under U.S. law.

The State Department website cautions, “Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries, and either country has the right to enforce its laws. It is important to note the problems attendant to dual nationality. Claims of other countries upon U.S. dual-nationals often place them in situations where their obligations to one country are in conflict with the laws of the other.”

Moreover, it would be interesting to find out if any Iranian officials obtained U.S. permanent residency or citizenship, while they already served the Islamic Republic.

The case of top Islamic Republic managers with dual citizenship has once again emerged at a time when President Hassan Rouhani’s office on August 17, 2017 described a conservative MP’s comments as “disgraceful for the position of legislators” and “repeating the criminal act against national security and interest”.

The conservative representative of Mashhad, Javad Karimi Qoddousi had earlier claimed that some of the members of Rouhani’s administration have dual nationality, while one of Rouhani’s nominees for serving as minister has a non-Iranian wife.

The case of top managers with dual nationality triggered a heated debate after the Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Iran’s National Bank (Bank Melli), Mahmoud Reza Khavari fled Iran in 2011, after being allegedly involved in “$2.6 billion embezzlement scandal”.

Last December, Khavari was sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison for "disrupting the economic system," Iranian news agencies cited the head of Tehran's Revolutionary Court, as saying on December 9.

Khavari, who obtained Canadian citizenship in 2005, joined his family there in 2011 in the wake of the $2.6 billion fraud scandal, described as the largest-ever such case in Iran.

Tehran has appealed to Canada for assistance, but Ottawa has refused, citing the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty.

The judiciary officials have repeatedly cautioned Rouhani’s government for employing people with dual citizenship who intend to infiltrate the core of the Islamic Republic’s ruling system.

Nevertheless, Rouhani’s Intelligence Minister, mid-ranking clergy, Mahmoud Alavi dismissed allegations, insisting that “There are no managers with dual citizenship serving at Rouhani’s administration” and highlighting the case of dual nationals is a “scenario” written by government’s opponents.

Mahmoud Alavi also insisted that people who are carrying US green cards are not counted as dual nationals and installing them in governmental positions, wherever the law permits, is acceptable.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of parliament’ National Security Commission, Hossein Naqavi Hosseini has cited Alavi as saying, “The case of nearly 300 people suspected of having dual citizenship have been studied and fifty of them who had dual nationality were sacked, since 2016”.

The Islamic Republic does not recognize dual citizenship.