Iran offers citizenship to stateless people with ‘Iranian roots’ in Kuwait

Stateless Arabs, known as “Bidoon,” take part in a demonstration in Kuwait.

:: Iran is offering Iranian citizenship to stateless people with “Iranian roots” residing in Kuwait, said the country’s ambassador to Kuwait on Sunday, according to Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai.

Iran’s ambassador to Kuwait, Mohammad Irani, stressed his country’s readiness to naturalize stateless residents in Kuwait, provided they are able to prove they have Iranian origins.

Those who attain Iranian citizenship are not obliged to move to Iran and can continue living in Kuwait with their Iranian citizenship, he added.

Kuwait is home to around 100,000 stateless people known as “Bidoon,” or those without nationality.

Iran is also home to large numbers of stateless people. There is a lack of reliable data on statelessness in Iran, but Melanie Khanna, head of the UN refugee agency’s section on statelessness, told Reuters that a government survey showed 49,000 children lacked proof of nationality. The UNCHR listed 979,400 refugees without Iranian statehood in Iran in 2017.

People who are born to an Iranian mother in Iran are deprived of Iranian citizenship as the country does not “allow mothers to confer their citizenship on their children with no or very limited exceptions,” according to a 2019 UNHCR report.

The Iranian parliament passed a bill in May which would enable all Iranian mothers married to foreigners to confer their Iranian citizenship on their children or spouses. However, the bill was rejected and sent back to the parliament by the Guardian Council on June 15, citing security concerns.

There are “over three million” Afghans living in Iran, according to Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, many of whom are married to Iranian women and have children who are prohibited from obtaining Iranian citizenship.

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