Iran official urges opposition to new US visa rules

AFP , Sunday 27 Dec 2015

A top Iranian parliamentary official has written to his counterparts in Europe, China and Russia calling on them to oppose "discriminatory" new US visa regulations.

A bill passed by Congress this month bars citizens from 38 mainly European countries from travelling to the United States without a visa if they have previously visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan since 2011.

It also requires a visa for citizens of those countries if they are dual nationals of any of the four target nations.

Tehran says the new regulations fly in the face of its landmark nuclear deal struck with major powers, including the United States, in July.

In the letter to his counterparts in the European parliament, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, Alaedin Boroujerdi, described the law as "unfair and discriminatory".

"I would like to urge you to make every effort to oppose this decision by the US administration," he said, quoted by the ISNA news agency, describing it as a "destructive blow" to the nuclear agreement.

The president of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher, criticised the new US rules on a visit to Tehran last week, saying they sent the "wrong signal" and undermined efforts to build confidence with Iran.

The move reflects calls by US lawmakers and authorities to reduce security vulnerabilities after the deadly strikes last month in Paris, where some of the attackers were French and Belgians who could have travelled unrestricted to the United States to carry out attacks.

Those affected will not be barred from the United States, but will be required to obtain a visa through standard means, which includes a face-to-face interview at a US consulate.

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