Iran threatens to retaliate if the U.S. implements new visa waiver rules


Iran is threatening to carry out retaliatory measures, if the U.S. implements the new restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program. The recent changes to the program, made by Congress, were placed on individuals who have visited Iran and Iranian citizens and prevents them from entering the U.S. without a visa due to Iran’s continued support for terrorism. The U.S. State Department first designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984. Under the recently signed nuclear deal, the U.S. is allowed to place sanctions against Iran for human rights abuses and terrorism. However, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that the new restrictions would violate the nuclear deal inked in July. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, "Any steps taken outside the agreement are unacceptable to Iran, and Iran will take its own steps in response where necessary.”

In response to Iranian accusations that the new rules violate the nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Zarif to assure him that the administration could help Iran evade the new regulations by issuing waiver exemptions to ensure that the new rules will not “interfere with legitimate business interests in Iran.” Members of Congress have criticized this move and urged the administration to implement the new rules that President Barack Obama signed into law on December 18. Five members of Congress, including Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-Calif.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Chairman of the Committee on House Administration Candice Miller (R-Mich.) wrote to Secretary Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson telling them, “The simplest way to eliminate this restriction is for Iran to end its support of terrorism. We are deeply concerned that this point was absent from your recent correspondence with the Iranian Foreign Minister and urge the Administration to press Tehran on this, as well as its recent missile tests and persistent jailing of Americans. The problem is with Iranian actions, not the new visa waiver law.” The members of Congress also told the secretaries that the waivers in the new law were not meant to be used for business travelers and pointed out that the State Department has yet to rule out exempting those who have travelled to Iran for business.

Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz told Bloomberg View, "If the United States Congress cannot implement a more secure visa procedure for those who travel to state sponsors of terrorism like Iran, then the Iran deal ties the hands of lawmakers to a greater extent than even deal critics feared.” Chairman McCaul commented last week, “This administration’s continued capitulation to Iran continues to reach new lows.”


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of creating ISIS and trying to destroy Islamic civilization in a speech Tuesday in Tehran.

Khamenei made his comments in front of Muslim scholars, leaders and political figures at the International Islamic Unity Conference. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported on Khamenei’s remarks.

The Supreme Leader noted that the statements of the current US officials who claim to be in agreement with Islam are untrue and show their hypocrisy, and said, “The present US officials are against the principles of Islam and unlike their statements they are after fomenting differences among Muslims and its example is creating terrorist groups like Daesh (the Arabic word for the ISIL) and other groups that have been created through the funding of the US affiliates and their political aids; they (the American officials) have caused the recent tragedies in the Muslim world.” …

The Iranian Supreme Leader pointed to the statements of a US politician who had said that Islamism is the enemy of the US, and said, “The Shiite or Sunni does not make any difference for the Americans; they are against any Muslim who wants to live in accordance with Islamic rules and make efforts to that end.”

Ayatollah Khamenei described the main problem of the Americans with Muslims as the latter group’s loyalty and commitment to the decrees and teachings of Islam and their efforts to establish Islamic civilization, and said, “It is for the same reason that when the Islamic awakening started they grew worried and tried to contain it and they even succeeded in some countries, but the Islamic awakening cannot be destroyed and it will achieve its goals God willingly.”

Although there is extensive evidence tying Iran to the creation of ISIS, Khamenei has often accused the United States of being responsible for creating the terror group. He even used this false accusation to blame the United States for the Paris terror attacks in November.

Khamenei’s speech continues a trend, noted in The New York Times last month, of growing anti-Americanism demonstrated by the Islamic Republic since the announcement of a nuclear deal in July. According to the Times, the increase in official expressions of anti-Americanism was matched by an increase in clamping down on rights. Similarly, Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the anti-Defamation League, wrote last week that along with the arrests an American citizen and a U.S. resident, the sentencing of an American journalist to jail, and a surge of cyber-attacks against U.S. officials, “Iranian leadership continues to rail against the ‘Big Satan’ without penalty or even opprobrium.”

Since the nuclear deal was announced, Khamenei has twice called the United States “criminal,” and promised that Iran would defeat the United States in war. He has also called for Iran to block the import of U.S. goods, and said that despite the nuclear deal there would be no broader cooperation with the United States. (via


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