If you must know
By Siamak Namazi
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.
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
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
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:
embassy and me
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