The US state department’s Persian spokesman, Alan Eyre, has denied that tightening the rules for visa-free travel to the United States would prevent foreign traders from business with Iran.
“The latest amendments to the US Visa Waiver Program (bill HR158) were aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and I do not think the issue will concern the foreigners regarding business in Iran,” Eyre told Trend news.
“If foreigners have visited Iran over the past five years, they simply need to apply for an entry visa to the US which is not a difficult task,” the spokesman said.
The official further pledged that the US will make efforts to remove the ambiguities over the changes to the visa program.
In the wake of created ambiguities over the bill and in a very recent development, Rana Rahimpour, a well-known BBC Persian presenter and journalist, with dual British-Iranian nationality was banned from flying to the US under the visa waiver scheme.
“My fully #British daughter can’t attend her #American cousin’s bday cos her mum was born in #Iran,” she tweeted Jan. 19.
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of about 38 countries, mostly European, to travel to the United States for tourism, business, or while in transit for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa. However, the recent amendment to the program imposes restrictions on foreigners who intend to visit the US.
The legislation restricts many foreign nationals and those with dual nationality who have visited Iran, Syria, Iraq and Sudan over the past five years, from entering the US without a visa.
Aimed at preventing possible terrorist threats, the US officials passed the legislation intended to limit certain travel privileges in the aftermath of attacks in Paris and California.
However Iranians have been campaigning online to stop the legislation. “HR158”, a Facebook page created to oppose the bill has over 100k members.