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Iran's parliament rejects bill to grant citizenship to Afghans married to Iranian women

Tehran, Jan 15, IRNA -- The Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has unanimously rejected a bill to grant Iranian citizenship to Afghan spouses of Iranian women, the press reported here on Wednesday.

The Persian-language `Qods' quoted the commission's rapporteur, Hamid-Reza Hajji-Babaei, as saying that the sole article of the bill authorizes the cabinet to issue permanent residence permits to Afghan nationals married to Iranian women whose marriages were solemnized within the period March 21, 1979-March 20, 2002.

"Under the bill, costs that may be incurred by the Interior Ministry in Afghan naturalization proceedings are to be paid by the applicants," Hajji-Babaei said.

"However, given the results of expert studies into the issue, the commission thinks the costs and likely consequences of the plan would not be favorable to the country."

Qods, quoting the bill, said it could pave the way for more problems for the country as Afghan nationals would be encouraged to stay, adding that it could also encourage Afghan migration to Iran and add to its current difficulties in repatriating those that are already here.

Those reasons, the daily pointed out, are among the main reasons the commission cited for rejecting the bill.

Earlier, a Majlis deputy from Tehran, Elaheh Koulaei, placed the number of Iranian women illegally married to Afghan nationals at about 5,000, saying these marriages have created numerous problems for their families and Iranian society as a whole.

Iranian laws allow a male national to apply for Iranian citizenship for his foreign wife and children, but women are not entitled to this privilege.

Koulaei, who is also a member of the Majlis Women's Faction, has highlighted the need to remove existing discrimination between Iranian men and women, particularly on the privilege of applying for citizenship for their legal spouses.

... Payvand News - 1/15/03 ... --

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