TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's state TV says the constitutional watchdog has ratified a bill granting citizenship to children of Iranian mothers but non-Iranian fathers.

Wednesday’s ratification came after parliament approved the bill in May following decades-long demands by rights activists.

Under the new law, children born to Iranian mothers will be eligible for Iranian citizenship.

Until now, more than 100,000 children of Iranian women who had married foreign nationals, mostly Afghans and Iraqis but also men of other nationalities, weren’t recognized as Iranian citizens in the eyes of the law.

The new law is expected to go into effect in less than a month, guaranteeing these children the right to education, health care and other social benefits.

Hard-liners have long opposed the bill, saying it paves the way for foreign influence in Iran.

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