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Iran: Whether an Iranian woman loses her Iranian nationality if she marries a non-Iranian, or acquires another nationality without informing Iranian authorities; whether a child born to an Iranian mother and a non-Iranian father is entitled to Iranian citizenship

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1999
Citation / Document Symbol IRN31882.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Whether an Iranian woman loses her Iranian nationality if she marries a non-Iranian, or acquires another nationality without informing Iranian authorities; whether a child born to an Iranian mother and a non-Iranian father is entitled to Iranian citizenship, 1 May 1999, IRN31882.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad9423.html [accessed 17 August 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

In terms of whether an Iranian woman loses her Iranian nationality if she marries a non-Iranian, or acquires another nationality without informing Iranian authorities, the Civil Code of Iran, available on REFWORLD, provides:

Article 987: An Iranian woman marrying a foreign national will retain her Iranian nationality unless according to the law of the country of the husband the latter's nationality is imposed by marriage upon the wife.  But in any case, after the death of the husband or after divorce or separation, she will re-acquire her original nationality together with all rights and privileges appertaining to it by the mere submission of an application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to which should be annexed a certificate of the death of her husband or the document establishing the separation.

Article 988: Iranian nationals cannot abandon their nationality except on the following conditions:

(1) That they have reached the full age of 25.

(2) That the Council of Ministers has allowed their renunciation of their Iranian nationality.

(3) That they have previously undertaken to transfer, by some means or other, to Iranian nationals, within one year from the date of the renunciation of their Iranian nationality, all the rights that they possess on landed properties in Iran or which they may acquire by inheritance although Iranian laws may have allowed the possession of the same properties in the case of foreign nationals.  The wife and children of the person who renounces his nationality according to this Article do not lose their Iranian nationality, whether the children are minors or of age, unless the permission of the Council of Ministers allows them to renounce their nationality; and (4) That they have completed their national military service.

Article 989: In case any Iranian subject acquired foreign nationality after the solar year 1280 (1901-1902) without the observance of the provisions of law, his foreign nationality will be considered null and void and he will be regarded as an Iranian subject.  Nevertheless, all his landed properties will be sold under the supervision of the local Public Prosecutor and the proceeds will be paid to him after the deduction of the expenses of sale. In addition, he will be disqualified to attain the position of Cabinet Minister or Assistant Minister or of membership of the Legislative Assemblies, Provincial and District Council and Municipal Councils, or any other governmental positions.

Article 990: Iranian subjects who may have personally, or whose fathers may have, renounced Iranian nationality in accordance with the provisions of law and who may wish to re-acquire their original nationality can be reinstated in their Iranian nationality by mere application unless the Government may deem the grant of their application to be inadvisable.

Article 991: Particulars and instructions concerning the enforcement of the law of nationality and the exaction of the administrative fees in the case of those who may apply for naturalization as nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or renunciation of Iranian or retention of original nationality, will be specified in regulations which will have to be sanctioned by the Council of Ministers (1985).

Furthermore, an October 1993 Joint Report by the Embassies of Australia, Canada, et. al., available at Regional Documentation Centres, states:

according to provisions in pre-revolutionary Iranian law, an Iranian cannot hold dual citizenship. It seems however that this is no longer strictly applied. Many embassies in Tehran receive passports from the MFA which were seized from dual nationals, usually at the airport on departure. There is no evidence that any other action than seizure of the passport is taken.

Renouncing Iranian citizenship is provided for in the Citizenship Law, ...

An application to renounce citizenship must specifically include any spouse or children, otherwise they remain Iranian citizens. Although a spouse and children may be specifically included on an application, a separate authorization covering them has to be issued by the cabinet. In practice, this procedure for abandoning citizenship is rarely implemented.

... An Iranian woman marrying a foreign man and settling abroad, retains her Iranian citizenship unless the laws of the country where the couple reside demands that she renounce her citizenship (pp. 40-41).

In terms of whether a child born to an Iranian mother and a non-Iranian father is entitled to Iranian citizenship, according to Article 976 of the Civil Code of Iran those considered to be Iranian subjects include: "persons born in Iran of foreign parents, one of whom was also born in Iran" and "persons born in Iran of a father of foreign nationality who have resided at least one more year in Iran immediately after reaching the full age of 18; in other cases their naturalization as Iranian subjects will be subject to the stipulations for Iranian naturalization laid down by the law" (1985). In regard to those children born to Iranian mothers outside of Iran, the Consul of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Ottawa stated in a 11 March 1997 telephone interview that a child born outside Iran to an Iranian mother and a foreign father would not be an Iranian citizen until the age of 18 years, at which time he/she would have the right to apply for Iranian citizenship.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

"The Civil Code of Iran." 1935, Amendments to 1985. (REFWORLD)

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ottawa. 11 March 1997. Telephone interview with Consul. (cited in IRN26514.E of 11 March 1997)

Issues Related to Iranian Asylum Seekers and Refugee Applications Abroad. October 1993. A joint report by the Embassies of Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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