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    If you must know

    By Siamak Namazi
    August 27, 1998
    The Iranian

    Tomorrow is going to be an early day. I have to get up at 5 a.m. to go stand behind the doors of our beloved Interests Section in Washington DC, and patiently await my turn on what the international community considers Pakistani soil. Yes, I need the dreaded exit visa.

    I have filled out a ton of forms, and answered a ton of questions, none of which I consider the Islamic Republic's business. I still can't imagine how a government even dares pose such queries. I object most seriously to the two forms I had to fill (in addition to two standard forms, which are overly inquisitive to start with) because I have taken American citizenship. Still, the form threatens that if I don't answer all the items, I shall be deprived of the precious exit visa stamp.

    I propose making things easier on the government of Iran and work towards making our Interests Section more environmentally-friendly. So let's implement an Iranian paper-reduction act. Let's just fill out the questions online. After all, if the government needs to know all about me, perhaps others do too.

    Form 989

    Dear Compatriot: In accordance with code 989 of Iranian civil law, Iranians who obtain foreign citizenship without adhering to the laws, are not recognized as having a foreign citizenship and continue to be considered Iranian citizens. This is unless the Council of Ministers in accordance to the recommendation of the Foreign Ministry, recognizes them.

    Thus, countrymen who have received their foreign citizenship outside of the above mentioned guidelines can receive their Iranian passport by presenting the following documents:

    1- Two copies of both sides of your citizenship papers or American passport
    2- Completion of Form 2 (attached)
    3- Copy of Green Card or G-342 Form or...
    4- Three legible copies of Iranian birth certificate
    5- Two recent photos

    Attention: Please be totally attentive in completing the requested documents

    A) Indicate when and how you received your Green Card: I received my Green Card in 1996, through my father's occupation.

    B) Write the year you took American Citizenship: 1993.

    C) Explain in detail why you took American Citizenship: For one, it made getting grants and scholarships easier and I had to pay my way through school [this is the standard acceptable reply, I hear]. Second, due to my father's former occupation, I had to travel abroad a lot. I finally had enough of the hassles associated with carrying an Iranian passport. The last straw was when I was detained in Cairo airport for several hours despite having not only a valid visa, but diplomatic privileges. I need not mention how much I had to plead to obtain visas at foreign embassies. So, I took U.S. citizenship. As a final reason, I add that I have been living here since I was a twelve. I, Siamak Namazi, declare that the above information is complete and truthful and if not I will be accountable in accordance to the law.

    Form No: 2

    Questionnaire for Requesting Consulate Affairs

    * First Name: Siamak
    * Last Name: Namazi
    * Previous Family Name: -
    * Father's Name: Mohammad Baquer
    * Mother's Name: Eftekhar
    * Marital Status: Single
    * Gender: Male
    * Country of Residence: USA
    * Birth Certificate Number & Place of Issue: Tehran ####
    * Date of Birth: 10/14/71 (1973)
    * Place of Birth: Tehran
    * Citizenship: Iranian
    * If you are married, please provide details on your wife and children: n/a [Thank God, or else I'd have to give their personal information, too. Interestingly they don't care about the mother's name.]
    * Information on three Iranians who know you in the U.S.: Names, relationships, addresses, telephone numbers [What if I didn't know some Iranians here?].
    * Write your occupation during the last 5 years:
    -Presently a consultant
    -Graduate Student 1996-98
    -Before that serving my military service in Iran
    * Type of passport: Regular, Number ...
    * Place/Date of Issue: Tehran, Feb 1996
    * Current Visa Status: U.S. citizen
    * Last Entry to Iran: March 24, 1996
    * Last Exit from Iran: May 1996
    * Port of Exit: Mehrabad
    * Why did you leave: To go to graduate school
    * If you have lost you're your passport, please explain how and where you lost it: n/a
    * Give the name and address of three people who know you in Iran and indicate their relation to you:
    - Babak Namazi, brother
    - Eftekhar Namazi, mother
    - M. Baquer Namazi, father
    * Exact Address in Iran: Sa'adat Abad ... [actually, my uncle's address, the only one I know by heart.]
    * Present Address in U.S. (no PO Boxes): - Chevy Chase, MD
    * Have you ever left the country illegally: No [But I am beginning to wonder if it will be less of a hassle than getting an exit stamp...]
    * What other countries have you been to or lived in, besides the U.S., since you left. Give dates, duration, and reason for travel: [Since there was only about 1.5 inches to provide the info, I said Egypt and Kenya, various years, as a dependent.]
    * Last Degree Received: Masters of Science
    * What Year did you Start Studying Abroad: 1983 (Middle School)
    * Do you have a passport other than your Iranian one: Yes, U.S.
    * What is your specialization and what did you used to do in Iran: Urban Planning. In Iran, nothing, really.
    * What do you do now: Consulting
    * Do you work for yourself or for another: Another
    * How much do you earn: Less than I should
    * Name of supervisor and place of work: Peter, Cipher Systems
    * Work Address: Arnold, MD
    * Have you done your military service (males only): Yes
    * Sign and swear the above is true: Siamak Namazi


    In case there are any readers from within the Iranian government who have missed the point of this exercise, here is a concise explanation: Iran is our motherland, our home, our innocence, our retreat, our passion, our love. It is our unalienable right to travel to and from Iran freely and without restrictions. If you really want us back to help rebuild the country, if you want our children to maintain a bond to the land of their parents, stop treating us like criminals. Why do we have to explain ourselves to you?


    * Also by Siamak Namazi:

    - Baptism: In search of home
    - At peace in e Iranian army
    - Misguided policies toward expatriates
    - What about MY rights?

    * The embassy and me
    People love to visit me in DC - very quickly
    By Aref Erfani

    * Features
    * Travelers
    * Cover stories
    * Who's who


Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form