PM Gonsalves denies Iranian national has SVG passport, citizenship

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – PRIME MINISTER of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has refuted a statement by the United States Department of Treasury that a former Iranian national, whose activities are being closely monitored, had acquired citizenship and a passport from that country.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday (Jan. 7), Dr. Gonsalves said that he had advised his Foreign Affairs Minister Camillo Gonsalves to inform the US State and Treasury Department of the facts concerning the issuance of passports and citizenship.

According to CMC, the Prime Minister told reporters that “the records of the Citizenship and Residency Department of the Office of the Prime Minister showed there are four Iranians by birth who are granted citizenship by St. Vincent and the Grenadines” during the period 1997-1998.

The media house stated that Gonsalves also told reporters that the citizenship granted in 1997 was to the 10-year-old son of a medical practitioner and his wife born in Bangladesh.

Dr. Gonsalves informed that the medical doctor was employed at the hospital in his country and that the son is now a medical doctor residing overseas, while the other three “Vincentian of Iranian birth” are a 47-year-old barber, a 43-year-old mother and a 20-year-old son.

CMC quoted him as saying: “Each of these four applications for citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was supported by reference from reputable professionals in this country. Of these four Iranian-born citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the one who is a medical practitioner is the only one of the four who currently has a valid passport of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

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