Iran to grant citizenship to families of foreign ‘martyrs’
In a bid to encourage more Afghan and other foreign ‘volunteers’ to fight in Syria, Iranian gov’t increases incentives.
Iran has passed a law allowing the government to grant citizenship to the families of foreigners killed while fighting for the Islamic republic, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday, in a move likely meant to further shore up the regime’s support for the Assad regime in Syria.
“Members of the parliament authorised the government to grant Iranian citizenship to the wife, children and parents of foreign martyrs who died on a mission… during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and afterwards,” it said.
Citizenship must be awarded “within a maximum period of one year after the request”, IRNA added.
Iran’s outgoing conservative-dominated parliament will serve until late May. The Iranian parliament is a symbolic body which can only pass laws authorized by the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
No figures are available on the number of foreign fighters killed during the Iran-Iraq war, but Shia Muslim Afghans, and even a group of Shia Iraqis, fought alongside Iranian forces against the regime of Saddam Hussein.
The law could apply to “volunteers” from Afghanistan and Pakistan who are fighting in Syria and Iraq against Sunni rebels.
Shiite Iran is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provides financial and both direct and indirect military support to his regime.
Tehran says its Fatemiyoun Brigade, comprised of Afghan recruits, are volunteers defending sacred Shiite sites in Syria and Iraq against Sunni extremists like those of ISIS. In reality, observers and opposition forces say the Afghans are often used
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