Following a move in Iran’s parliament to force family member of high-ranking government officials to return home, the mayor of the Holy City of Qom confirmed that some of his children live overseas, but “are ambassadors of the regime”.
Morteza Saqaiyan-Nezhad did not specify how many of his six children live abroad, but he said, “If some of my children have gone abroad to study, they have all been vocal ambassadors for the regime”.
Saqaiyan-Nezhad himself studied in the U.S. both before and after the 1979 revolution.
Reports were published on social media alleging that all six children of the mayor reside abroad; some in the United States and some in Germany.
Conservative and hardliner politicians have raised the issue of influential people sending their family members to live abroad, while they benefit from the Islamic Republic system. These politicians have also periodically accused even President Hassan Rouhani of holding either a foreign residence permit or citizenship.
Saqaiyan-Nezhad is a politician close to Paydari (Steadfastness) Front, which has supported former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He was elected mayor of Esfahan (Isfahan) in 2003 but was impeached in 2015 by the city council. However, days after losing his job, he was elected mayor of Qom.