Wednesday, 29 January, 2020

What the U.S is up to by visa waiver changes?

By: Abdolreza Ghofrani, Senior international analyst

On 19 December 2015, the proposed changes to U.S ‘Visa Waiver Program’ was ratified by the senate, and eventually President Barack Obama put his signature on the instrument, making it a law.

During the past ten days there have been broad reactions to the changes, not only inside Iran  as well as on the part of Iranians abroad, particularly those living  in US,  but European Union member states ,too, have harshly protested this move.

There are points need to be indicated:

First, this bill, amazingly, went through all legislative stages in a rapid pace becoming a law to be adhered. It is true that already in legislative and executive branches such a bill had been debated for a while, but the haste of making it a law is nothing but an unexpected budge just shortly a few days before JCOAP is scheduled to be implemented. Ironically, the members of lower house have said that they did not have any idea as to why this bill was so rapidly ratified. More amazing is that some of the representatives had expressed that they even were not aware of the contents of the bill?!

US administration, admittedly, has had full awareness of the consequences of and reactions to ratifying the bill, nevertheless the president has so rapidly signed it. President Obama had already made it clear that he would not veto the bill if passed by both houses. Just by a brief review of all reports and speculations, it is not so hard to conclude that United States as usual does not  live up  to  its commitments it makes, but actually ignores the international principle Pacta sunt servanda (Latin for “agreements must be kept”), as it has been her policy for decades. Iranian foreign minister, Dr. J Zarif reacting to this move calling it a negative gesture from Washington  as well as blunt violation of item 29 of JCOAP.

Now by this act the United States and President Obama barely showed that US government cannot be trusted. Unfortunately this has been the policy of this government and there is no guarantee that it will give up that style.

Second ,by this act United States has proved that in no way it has any interest  to live up to international commitments and in this case to contents of Copenhagen 1995 Social Development Summit Declaration. In this document it has been clearly expressed the commitments of all participants “to promote social integration based on the enhancement and protection of all human rights”(item 4). Notwithstanding the United States constantly charges some countries of violating the human rights, by this act it showed that she tops the list of those countries. So it is anybody guesses that US claims on violation of human rights by some countries is just a tool used by this government to advance her political goals and pressure, selectively, other countries.

Now it takes some time to find out Washington’s motives for this new game. However, it should not be ignored that may be the pressures of powerful lobbies, who did not gain to undermine the JCOAP, have had a great part in this story. Moreover, possibly, United States has thus responded this way because it could not have the share it has been seeking for in the lucrative market of this region, particularly Iran, after the JCOAP achieved. US might have presumed it can keep its European partners from this market. However the European Allies were pretty vigilant and hastily responded appropriately and they are now determined to take reciprocal actions against Washington.

In spite of the Secretary of State  John Kerry’s letter to Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif,assuring that visa waiver program has no implications on implementation of JCOP,  United States must beware that the time of sham  is over because in today world dual actions and hypocrisy will rapidly be revealed ,as fast as the visa waive program was passed , and at the end of the day,  it is United States that will shortly be in complete isolation and even its own allies do not trust her anymore.

Now the ball is in US court and everything depends on how Washington plays the game.

See also:

Iran examines US bill tightening visa-free travel

US visa ban targets Iranians: Why not Saudis and Pakistanis?

Will changes to US Visa Waiver Program torpedo Iran deal implementation?

Text: US Kerry Letter to Zarif Regarding Visa Waiver Reform

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