Ibrahim Downplays Concerns over Passport Stamping for Iranian Passengers

General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim on Monday downplayed allegations published in an American daily over Beirut airport measures regarding Iranian passengers, assuring that stamping passports at RHIA is “not compulsory, and has been adopted in several Gulf and European countries.”

Laughing the allegations off, Ibrahim told al-Joumhouria daily: “Unfortunately some have a broad imagination that drives them into unrealistic assumptions. I would like to emphasize that the measure taken by the General Security Directorate is totally normal and does not involve any hidden goals or intentions. It has been adopted in many Gulf and European countries for many years.”

He stressed that “the entry and departure of Iranians through the airport is registered and documented on computers. This is what matters to us,” pointing out that “even if the passports are not stamped, the date of arrival and departure is available to us by passing the passport on the (scan) machines.”

The Washington Times said in a report over the weekend that the Lebanese embassy in Tehran has “announced that in order to facilitate the travel of Iranians to and from Lebanon, their passports would not be stamped at Beirut airport during their trip to Iran.”

The daily alleged that Hizbullah is “corrupting” the Rafik Hariri International Airport and has allowed the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to take the airport as a base for Iranian regime operations, which consists of transporting weapons and fighters to locations and countries serving the Revolutionary Guards’ strategy for regional intervention.”

“Stamping your passport is not a compulsory step. Passengers have the right to request the stamp be placed on a separate card other than their passports,” he clarified.

Ibrahim asserts that international law preserves the human right to freedom of movement, and therefore "public security" can not impose restrictions on the traveler contrary to this principle.

He revealed preparation for the implementation of a sophisticated project at the airport that would completely cancel stamping. “An electronic crossing gate, which automatically opens the door to the passenger or locks it in front of him, depending on the result of a device that checks the passport automatically," he said.

Source: Naharnet

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