Nova Scotia

Halifax woman loses passport in Iranian embassy closure

A Halifax woman was forced to cancel a family visit to Iran after her passport became a casualty in the diplomatic tension between her home country and her adopted one.

Closure could also affect Nova Scotia students

Nikki Jafari has lived in Canada since she was two, but her Iranian passport application and Canadian passport were lost when Canada cut diplomatic ties with the country. (CBC)

A Halifax woman was forced to cancel a trip to Iran after her passport became a casualty in the diplomatic tension between her home country and her adopted one.

All of Canada's diplomats were instructed to leave Iran, and embassy operations in Tehran were shut down earlier this month.

Nikki Jafari has lived in Canada since she was two. This summer she and her sister started working on plans to travel back to the country where they were born.

Since she was born in Iran, she needed an Iranian passport to return.

"I got the picture done, and filled out the forms and submitted it off to the embassy and then I found out a few days later that the embassy shut down. So I'm not even sure how I'd get an Iranian passport to go to Iran," said Jafari.

To complicate things even more, she now has to re-apply for a Canadian passport since the document was never returned from the Iranian embassy in Ottawa before it closed. 

"Everything just happened so abruptly. I'm not sure what their exit strategy is whether eventually they're going to mail back everything to their clients. I don't know," she said.

Iran's shuttered embassy in Ottawa. (CBC)

 

Jafari said with diplomatic ties between the two countries severed, it's made a bad situation even worse.

Besides cancelled vacations, several Iranian-Canadians complained in May after the TD Bank abruptly closed their accounts with little explanation other than to say it had to comply with federal economic sanctions against Iran.

"It’s very difficult.  Most people go through various exchange companies so the money's exchanging hands many, many times before it hits them. The real downside is that it's all cash so it's under the table for the most part so there's no paper trail so a lot of people lose their money in the process," said Jafari.

Rueben Zaoitti, a political science professor at Dalhousie University, said there are scores of Iranian students on campus who depend on good relations between embassies.

"For those who are here on a temporary basis, like students for example, who might need to renew their visas or need some documents from Iranian officials and they can't have access to it. So it's definitely a big, big problem," Zaoitti said.

Jafari said she still wants to visit Iran, but under the current political atmosphere she doesn't know when that will be.

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