Report: Lebanon to Annul Decision on Passport Stamping for Iranians
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq will reportedly scrap a controversial decision allowing Iranian passengers to enter into Lebanon without having their passports stamped at the airport, media reports said on Tuesday.
Mashnouq plans to suspend the General Security Directorate step, arguing that “such decisions must be taken by the Cabinet.”
Lebanese officials and citizens were up in arms over the procedure, despite assurances made Sunday by General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim who said the measure “was normal and has been adopted for years in several Gulf and European countries.”
Ibrahim assured “it does not mean that Iranians or other nationals are allowed to enter Lebanon illegally.”
Many in Lebanon considered the aim of the decision was to “circumvent the international sanctions imposed on Iran and Hizbullah, and facilitate the transfer of funds and fighters to Syria.”
Reports emerged accusing Hizbullah of “exploiting” the Rafik Hariri International Airport by allowing 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.”
Lebanese Forces MP Wehbe Katicha has urged Mashnouq in a letter to “take the right decision due to the political implications it has.” He said “Ibrahim has administrative authority to exempt individual cases for special reasons in terms of stamping the passport or not, but when it is linked to a whole state, these become a power of political authority.”