Revelations that the son of Iran’s parliament speaker was attempting to get a residence permit in Canada has reignited discussion around officials’ children living abroad.

This is not a new phenomenon, as the offsprings of high-ranking officials have resided overseas during their parents’ tenures.

The number of foreign-based children of officials has surged from a handful in the 1980s to thousands.

Among these children, some have permanently settled in foreign countries, some travel between Iran and other countries, and others have traveled abroad for educational purposes only.

Notably, six children of Morteza Saghaiannejad, the former mayor of Qom, currently reside in the United States.

While exact statistics are unavailable, some Islamic Republic officials estimate that three to four thousand of them are residing abroad.

The lifestyle of officials’ children abroad has garnered widespread negative attention in the public sphere.

In the 80s

In the 1980s, it was uncommon for officials’ children to reside abroad.

However, some teenagers and young children of officials who were already living abroad before the revolution chose to remain in their host countries and did not return to Iran with their parents.

Among them is Adnan Tabatabai, the son of Sadegh Tabatabai, who made headlines last year due to his institute’s contract with the German Foreign Ministry.

Norbert Röttgen, a member of the German parliament, announced that the cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and the Karpo Research Institute, managed by Tabatabai, has been extended for another two years.

The Karpo Institute has received 900,000 euros from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a project it is undertaking.

In the 1980s, Mohsen Hashemi, the son of the former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, also pursued his studies in Belgium.

Hashemi Rafsanjani wrote that Mohsen went to Belgium to continue his education due to security concerns following an assassination attempt against his father.

In the 90s

In the 1990s, the offspring of Islamic Republic officials began pursuing studies and residing abroad after reaching adulthood, a trend that further intensified in the 2000s.

Mohammed Hossein Beheshti, the father of Hassan Rouhani’s son-in-law, disclosed that his son, who is married to Rouhani’s daughter, has been living outside of Iran for approximately 25 years.

He resides with Rouhani’s daughter in Vienna, Austria, where he works as a doctor.

Maryam Fereydoun, the daughter of Hossein Fereydoun, Rouhani’s brother, also resides abroad.

Sejad Khoshrou, the husband of Maryam Fereydoun and the son of Gholam Ali Khoshrou, the former representative of the Islamic Republic at the United Nations, pursued a doctoral degree at Oxford University.

Leila, the daughter of former President Mohammed Khatami, departed the country in the 1990s and currently resides abroad with her husband.

Hamidreza Aref, the son of Mohammedreza Aref, Khatami’s vice president, revealed that his brother resides in Germany and works as a university professor there.

In the 2000s

In the 2000s, the identities of officials’ children who had been sent abroad for education gradually came to light. Many chose to immigrate instead of returning to Iran.

Isa, the son of Masoumeh Ebtekar, who served as the head of the environmental organization in both the Khatami and Rouhani administrations, also resides in the United States.

This garnered attention due to his connection with the students who occupied the US embassy following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The offspring of others involved in the occupation of the embassy, such as Mehdi Mirdamadi, the son of Mohsen Mirdamadi, are studying and living in the United States.

Erfan Danesh Jafari, the son of Davood Danesh Jafari, who served as the Minister of Economy under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also resides in the United States.

Likewise, Ali Elham, the son of Gholam Hossein Elham, the spokesperson of the Ahmadinejad government, did not return to Iran after studying abroad.

In 2019, revelations that Zahra Takhshid, the granddaughter of Mohammed Yazdi, former chief of the judiciary, and daughter of Mohammed Reza Takhshid, former head of Tehran University Law School, was residing in the United States made headlines.

Maryam Razm Hosseini, the daughter of Alireza Razm Hosseini, a prominent figure close to Qassem Soleimani, who served as governor of Kerman and later as Minister of Industry, Mines and Business in Hassan Rouhani’s government, lives in Canada.

Bijan Zanganeh, the oil minister in both the Rouhani and Khatami administrations, revealed that his two children also live abroad.

In 2018, a picture of Selvi Kaynejad, the son of Mohammed Ali Kaynejad, a member of the Cultural Revolution Council, along with his wife and daughter in Christmas attire, made headlines.

Education of Officials’ Children Abroad

While many officials’ children remain abroad for education, some have chosen to return to Iran after completing their studies.

Among them are Monireh Alavi, the daughter of the Minister of Intelligence, and Ehsan Sakhaei, her husband, as well as Maryam Zakani, the daughter of Alireza Zakani.

Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, whose daughter’s husband initially received a scholarship from Japan before relocating to the US, remarked, “Ultimately, my daughter and her family returned to Iran.”

Naima Taheri, the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, pursued studies in Canada.

The presence of officials’ children abroad has generated widespread negative reactions, with few defenders.

A minority of officials’ children have distanced themselves from their fathers’ political positions and the government, opting to seek refuge.

During the 2009 protests, Narges Kalhor, daughter of Mehdi Kalhor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s media advisor, sought asylum after participating in the German Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival.

Salehe Ramin, daughter of Mohammad Ali Ramin, former press deputy of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance during Ahmadinejad’s presidency, works as a model abroad.

Yasin Ramin also relocated to Germany following his involvement in a corruption case.

Source » iranwire