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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 17:15 UTC

 

 

Bolivia denies issuing passports to Iranian citizens

Tuesday, April 16th 2024 - 18:22 UTC
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From the 210,000 passports issued to Bolivian citizens between 2023 and 2024, none was given to a national of another country, La Paz insisted From the 210,000 passports issued to Bolivian citizens between 2023 and 2024, none was given to a national of another country, La Paz insisted

Bolivian authorities denied Tuesday the allegations by Argentina's Security Minister Patricia Bullrich that passports were being given to Iranian operatives as a result of the defense agreement between La Paz and Tehran due to which Buenos Aires upped its military readiness in border areas after siding with Israel in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The Libertarian Government of President Javier Milei lowered the alert level from “orange” to “moderate” elsewhere in the country but stressed that its forces would remain attentive to the Bolivian border “because there has been a memorandum signed by Bolivia and Iran,” whereby Iranian elite forces are stationed in the South American country, Bullrich said.

She also pointed out that border controls would be targetting non-Spanish speakers with Bolivian passports after many such documents were said to have been given away as part of the arrangement between La Paz and Tehran.

In response, the Migration Directorate of the Plurinational State of Bolivia denied these allegations and announced that proper clarifications from Bullrich would be requested through the usual diplomatic channels. ”We deny the accusation that Bolivian passports are being granted to Iranian citizens (...) The General Directorate of Migration will request the clarification of the case, respecting the regular channels that exist between both countries,“ the agency said in a statement while insisting that it ”has strict procedures and high-security measures for the granting and control in the issuance of current passports, which are only issued to Bolivian citizens who meet the requirements established by law.“ Between 2023 and 2024, some 210,000 passports were issued to Bolivian citizens meeting the requirements and none to citizens of any other nationality, the Directorate also stressed.

Bullrich also pointed out that Iranian elite forces were stationed in the neighboring South American country. ”That pact allowed the presence of Iranian members of the Quds forces, which are combatant forces and integrate the armed branches of Iran, in the territory,“ she explained.

In addition, Argentine Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni said that ”the necessary measures“ were ”being taken to have greater control on the border“ with Bolivia, whose good relations with Iran are feared to allow a springboard of international terrorism to settle on South American soil. At the same time, Israel has accused Bolivia of ”surrendering to terrorism” after severing all diplomatic ties.

The Jewish community in Argentina, the largest in Latin America and the fifth largest in the world, also insisted that Iran had good relations with Nicaragua and Venezuela as well.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard confirmed that Saturday's attack against Israeli territory was in retaliation for Tel Aviv's bombing of its consulate in Damascus on April 1, resulting in the killing of 7 Guard members.

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