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Iranian Dual Nationals Banned From Presidential Elections

IRAN -- Iranian parliament speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf (C) chairs a closed session to investigate the killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in Tehran, November 29, 2020

A new bill ratified by Iran's Majlis parliament has banned dual citizens from running as candidates in presidential elections in Iran.

On Tuesday, December 15, parliament members voted in favor of a motion banning holders of green cards or permanent residency in other countries from running in the presidential election. They also opposed the proposal to remove the age limit for presidential candidates.

While reviewing the presidential election law, some deputies objected to setting a minimum age of 40 years for the candidates and considered it contrary to Articles 20, 115, and 98 of Iran's Constitution.

The motion stipulated that candidates must be "at least 40 and a maximum of 70 years old" when registering for candidacy in presidential elections.

By setting this condition for candidacy, some officials recently singled out as candidates for the elections in the next Iranian calendar year, beginning March 20, 2021, will be eliminated from the race. Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, was one of the possible candidates who will be 39 years old at the time of registration.

Other potential candidates -- including the Former Minister of Oil, Mohammad Gharazi; Former Speaker of Majlis, Ali Akbar Nateqnouri; and current Deputy President, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht -- will be over 70 next year and banned from running for the presidency.

The parliamentary deputy of the Ministry of Interior, Mohammad Javad Koulivand, who attended the Majlis debate on behalf of the government, also demanded the removal of the candidates' age requirement.

Koulivand said that the government had set the minimum age of 30 and the maximum age of 75 years for running in the presidential election in a bill sent to the parliament to amend the election law.

However, he added that the government agrees with the proposal to remove the age requirement for presidential candidates.

Nonetheless, the Islamic Consultative Assembly members opposed the proposal to remove the age limit condition by 147 votes to 75.

Paragraph A of Article 1 of the motion stipulates that only "religious and political figures of Iranian Origin and subject of Iran, who have Insight and Managing capability, Good Record, Trustworthiness and Piety, and also Believe in the Principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion of the country (Twelver Shi'ite denomination) may run as presidential candidates."

In another amendment, lawmakers approved that those who have or had a green card or permanent residency in other countries could not run for president.

In 2016, after the publication of various reports on officials who were dual nationals, the members of the 10th Majlis formed a committee to investigate the case. The committee's report was finally prepared in May 2018, and rumors about a list of 100 officials with dual citizenship echoed in the corridors of Majlis.

A year later, Mashhad's fundamentalist representative to the parliament, and member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and "Front of Islamic Revolution Stability," Javad Karimi Qoddousi, published a list of officials allegedly with dual citizenship.

Rouhani, as well as his deputy for Women's affairs, Ma'soumeh Ebtekar, and the Minister of Health, Saeed Namaki, were on Qoddousi's list.

Nevertheless, Rouhani's Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Va'ezi, dismissed the list as unfounded and fake.

Furthermore, in response to the publication of this list, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence said in a statement that it would monitor "the publication and circulation of untrue information that creates suspicion in public opinion."

Despite government officials' denial, some fundamentalist legislators say the list of dual nationals is more than 100, and between 210 and 300 government officials have dual citizenship or green cards.