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In Istanbul, Iranians obtain Turkish citizenship to circumvent US sanctions

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Mohsen (the names have been changed) never wanted to leave Iran, nor obtain another nationality than that of his native country. Even after his degree in electronics at the University of Tehran, and while all his comrades were rushing to send their "application" to the biggest universities of United States and Canada, he was not tempted to do so. Â € œThis was a question of principleâ €, recalls the 35-year-old Iranian. The deterioration of the situation in Iran has made him change his mind. He has embarked on steps to obtain a Turkish passport. "Easier than European countries, for which you have to wait at least six years", he says.

Ankara has tightened its restrictions on obtaining Turkish nationality in October 2018. No one can obtain it by placing $ 500,000 on a bank account (as against 1 million previously), blocked for three years, or by investing $ 250,000 in Turkey. Head of a Tehman-based company specializing in software design, Mohsen bought an apartment in a tower on the Asian side of Istanbul for the fixed sum of money. e by Turkish law. Not far from his new home, he rented premises for his company, registered in Turkey.

If the businessman has taken the Turkish nationality, it is above all to have a bank account abroad. The reinstatement of US sanctions against Iran since Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015 made it very difficult, if not impossible, to continue its business. with the foreigner, especially banking transactions. The Iranian economy is so bad that no prospect is emerging in the near future. Some of his clients in Iran have not paid him for almost two years. "They're taking us on a boat. And with inflation (40%), the longer they wait to pay us, the more we lose our profits. Since March, I have been able to keep only 70 of my 150 employeesMohsen explains in his bright apartment, filled with Ikea furniture. That evening, when I got home, I burst into tears. We fought. But that did not work. What could I have done? AT"

Suitcases of cash