Iran expected to scrap ban on women passing nationality to children


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SULAIMANI – Iran plans to scrap a law banning women from passing their nationality to their children, which human rights experts said could help thousands of children living in legal limbo by letting them acquire citizenship.

Iran is one of 25 countries that do not permit women married to foreigners to hand their nationality to their children.

Citizenship experts say such laws can fuel statelessness, potentially depriving people of basic rights such as education, health care, housing and employment, and leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

They said Iran could pass the new law imminently after its parliament approved the reform last month and sent it to the Guardian Council, a clerical body which vets proposed legislation.

No one at the Iranian embassy in London was immediately available to comment on the law’s progress.

“This is a massive step in the right direction that will benefit many families,” said Catherine Harrington of the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights.

The proposed reform could benefit children born to women who have married men from Iran’s large Afghan refugee and migrant population, according to Human Rights Watch.

Other countries that do not let women married to foreigners hand their nationality on to their children include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan and Nepal.

An Iranian embassy official said children born to non-Iranian men were not stateless as they would inherit their father’s nationality.

(NRT Digital Media/ Reuters)