Iran’s Guardian Council Rejects Amendment to Citizenship Law

The Guardian Council has rejected an amendment bill to Iran’s Citizenship Law that would have guaranteed broader rights and legal protection to children with Iranian mothers and foreign fathers, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing the spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbasali Khodaei.

“The amendment bill is not that different from the current law. Also, the council ruled that Article 1 of the bill posed a threat to the country’s national security,” Mr. Khodaei said at a news conference. “The council has since forwarded its concerns regarding the amendment bill to the Majlis [Iranian Parliament].”

The Majlis had passed the amendment bill to the Citizenship Law on April 21. At the time many government officials and senior politicians hailed the measure, including Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masumeh Ebtekar, who described it as “a significant step by the government and the Majlis towards eradicating discrimination and injustice.”

If the amendment bill had passed, it would have granted citizenship to more than 150,000 children under 18 whose mothers are Iranian and whose fathers are foreign nationals. 

“The council has rejected the amendment to the law on citizenship [through the mother] because it violates religious principles and Clause 5 of Article 3 of the Constitution and could pose a threat to national security,” the Guardian Council said. “The council has also rejected the amendment to the law on granting permanent residency to foreign fathers because it violates religious principles and Clause 5 of Article 3 of the Constitution and raises national security concerns.”

The Guardian Council also rejected an amendment to the Child and Adolescent Protection Law, which the Majlis had passed on June 2, saying “the clause to Article 9, which penalizes parents for failing in their duty of care [specifically regarding a child’s education], is against religious principles.” The council ruled that the proposed changes did not address a previous problem with Article 5 of the amendment bill. 

Had that particular amendment bill been passed, it would have offered children better protection against domestic abuse.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]