OPINION: Iran’s Incompetence in Forged Passports

By Potkin Azarmehr

An Iranian couple entered Argentina on March 12 with forged Israeli passports. According to Western media reports in March both passports were amateurishly forged with several rudimentary blunders which included spelling mistakes, both in Hebrew and in English. The “Date of Expiry” for example, was written as “Date of Expairy” and even the word “Israel” was misspelled in Hebrew to name just two of the several errors recorded.

The basic mistakes in the forged passports might suggest that it could not have been the Iranian state who produced these documents. Those who follow Iran news will remember a previous similar gaffe which perhaps did not get as much Western media exposure as it should have at the time.


The story dates back to 2012 when a former Iranian kickboxer, Majid Jamali-Fashi, was featured on Iranian state TV, accused of having been recruited by Mossad to kill Iranian nuclear scientists.

Jamali-Fashi was shown describing how he was taken to Tel-Aviv by a Mossad agent for training and given an Israeli passport. The following image of his Israeli passport was then shown to the viewers.


As with the case of the couple who entered Buenos Aires, there were several crude mistakes on the passport which were easily spotted on closer examination.

The date of issue was 17/11/2003, nine years before Iranian state TV aired images of the passport. In the state TV confession, Jamali Fashi was said to be 24 years old at the time. The passport picture however did not come across as that of a 15 year old teenager.

The passport photo offered more clues. No passport would be issued with such a picture anywhere in the world. All passports today must include a headshot where the holder has his or her eyes open and looking straight into the camera.

Furthermore, the facsimile of Jamali-Fashi’s passport displayed by Iranian TV was the same as a sample Israeli passport available on Wikipedia:


It looked as if the forgers had simply copied the Israeli passport sample from Wikipedia and cut and pasted a photo of Jamali-Fashi onto it.

The Islamic Republic then claimed Jamali-Fashi was executed for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, which gave rise to further questions.

The only picture of Jamali Fashi’s execution which was ever shown was a blurred image taken at a distance:


It is difficult to verify if it is Jamali-Fashi. Iranian authorities at the time said they did not publish a clearer image because of public sensitivity. The Islamic Republic however, is not known for its regard for public sensitivity in publishing pictures of those executed. Public executions, where even children are allowed to come along and watch, is a normal event in Iran.

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