Iran parliament warns of reciprocal measures in US visa row


AFP

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s parliament speaker said Sunday that new U.S. visa regulations amounted to “harassment” and reciprocal steps would be taken if the plans are implemented. The rules, approved by Congress last month, would bar people from 38 mainly European countries from traveling to the United States without a visa if they have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan since 2011. Dual nationals of those countries would also be banned from using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). “Recently some U.S. representatives have put some plans together which can only be referred to as harassment,” parliament speaker Ali Larijani told lawmakers.

“If they don’t amend it, there will be reciprocation from the Iranian side.” He did not specify what reciprocal measures might be taken. Iran recently simplified its visa entry rules, seeking to boost tourism, but the United States, Britain and Canada are among 11 countries whose citizens cannot obtain a visa on arrival. The U.S. plan came after calls from lawmakers and authorities to reduce security vulnerabilities after November’s deadly jihadist attacks in Paris. Some of the attackers were French and Belgians who could have traveled unrestricted to the United States.