IRANIANS HAVE BOUGHT PASSPORTS FROM THE COMOROS ISLANDS – US AND COMOROS OFFICIALS WORRY THE DOCUMENTS MAY HAVE BEEN USED TO SKIRT SANCTIONS

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A Reuters special report on 29th June begins by saying that in January the Comoros Islands quietly cancelled a batch of its passports that foreigners had bought in recent years.  It published no details of its reasons, saying only that the documents had been improperly issued.  However, a list of the  recipients found that more than 100 of 155 people who had their Comoros passports cancelled in January were Iranians, and included senior executives of companies working in shipping, oil and gas, and foreign currency and precious metals – all sectors that have been targeted by international sanctions on Iran – and despite the fact that Iran does not formally allow the country’s citizens to hold a second passport.  Some had bought more than one Comoros passport.  None of the people or companies involved faced sanctions themselves.  The Comoros Islands began its programme to sell passports in 2008 as a way of raising much-needed income and arranged a deal with the UAE and Kuwait, who wanted to provide stateless inhabitants there known as the Bidoon with identity documents, but not local citizenship – however, later reports suggested that the programme was corrupted, with passports sold to persons outside the intended scope of the scheme.  Comoros was also forging ties with Iran at the time, a policy later changed.  The passports issued by the Comoros Islands were produced by a Belgian company called Semlex, which supplies identity documents to various African countries, and whose Brussels office was raided in January in connection with allegations involving DRC passports, then in May its offices in the Comoros was raided as part of the investigation into passport sales.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/iran-passports-comoros/?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=twitter

For the Reuters 2017 article on the DRC passports scandal, see –

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/congo-passports/

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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