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Iraqi President Fuad Masoum renounces British nationality | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fouad Masoum, Iraq’s newly elected president, speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, July 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)

Iraqi President Fuad Masoum speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, on July 24, 2014. (Reuters/Ahmed Saad)

Iraqi President Fuad Masoum speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, on July 24, 2014. (Reuters/Ahmed Saad)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi President Fuad Masoum has completed the final legal procedures formally renouncing his British nationality and citizenship in line with the requirements of the Iraqi constitution, which stipulates that “sovereign officials” cannot hold dual nationality.

A statement issued by the Iraqi Presidency on Sunday said: “President of Iraq Fuad Masoum has returned his British passport to authorities in the United Kingdom,” adding that “Masoum thanked the authorities of the United Kingdom for granting him nationality, which allowed him freedom of movement and travel during the era of dictatorship.” The statement stressed that the Kurdish statesman was renouncing his British citizenship and returning the passport “with all due respect and appreciation” to British authorities in line with the requirements of the Iraqi constitution.

“As soon as he took office, President Fuad Masoum took the decision to renounce his British passport and nationality in line with the spirit of the Iraqi constitution,” presidential spokesman Khalid Shawani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Article 18 of Iraq’s constitution states that “everyone who assumes a senior, security sovereign position must abandon any other acquired nationality,” adding that “this will be organized by law.”

“Since President Masoum was among those who helped to draft the constitution, and since the post of president of the Republic is the highest [in the country], he sent a letter to the concerned authorities in Britain to give up his British passport and nationality,” Shawani added.

While the Iraqi president has previously stated that he had renounced his British nationality, Shawani said: “The British authorities’ response has reached us and contains its approval of the measures taken by the president [to renounce his British nationality] and so this is no longer just media talk but a reality.”

The Iraqi presidential spokesman affirmed that Masoum had taken the decision in line with Iraqi public opinion which requires is officials to renounce any secondary nationality in line with the constitution.

He stressed that other Iraqi officials with dual nationalities now have no excuse but to renounce their secondary nationalities.

Iraqi legal expert Ahmed Al-Abadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that despite the explicit language of Article 18, many Iraqi officials have dual nationality and have made no moves to renounce secondary nationalities.

“President Masoum is, practically speaking, the first high-level official to voluntarily renounce a foreign nationality, informing the authorities of the country of this and getting approval for it,” he said.