US Visa Law Amendments Violate JCPOA Spirit

US Visa Law Amendments Violate JCPOA SpiritUS Visa Law Amendments Violate JCPOA Spirit

A new US law grouping Iran with countries perceived as hotbeds of terrorism to place visa restrictions on travelers to such countries goes against the July 14 nuclear deal, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said.

"The adoption of the policy of restrictions on travelers to Iran is considered a kind of sanction and hence violates the JCPOA's spirit," Hossein Sobhaninia told ICANA on Sunday.

US National Public Radio reported on Friday that US President Barack Obama approved legislation, included in a trillion-dollar spending bill, recently passed by the US House of Representatives in response to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks to tighten controls on travel to the United States by citizens of 38 states who enjoy visa advantages.  

Under the visa waiver program launched in 1986 to boost tourism and tighten the US relationship with its close allies, people from 38 countries were allowed to enter the country without a visa.

The new law requires visitors from the visa waiver countries, which include much of Western Europe, to obtain a visa to travel to the United States if they have been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years.

The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was struck between Iran and major powers, including the US, to give Iran sanctions relief in return for limitations for specified durations on its nuclear program. The action plan is expected to go into force in a matter of weeks.

  Harmful Measure

Sobhaninia noted that whatever the reason for Obama signing the measure, the move will hurt the progress made so far toward the implementation of the JCPOA.

The deal says the two sides "commit to implement the JCPOA in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, based on mutual respect, and to refrain from any action inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent of this JCPOA that would undermine its successful implementation."

Under the accord, the other side undertook to "take all measures required to lift sanctions and … refrain from imposing exceptional or discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions and restrictive measures covered by the JCPOA."

  Extension of Mistrust

In another development, Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Reza Bahonar said in the Sunday session of Majlis that the new US bill will only deepen the Iranians' mistrust of the US.

"Such a move will fortify and extend the wall of mistrust, showing that [the US] can never be trusted," Bahonar was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Over 100 lawmakers issued a note to President Hassan Rouhani calling for action in response to the measure, describing it as a "blatant breach" of JCPOA. Following the passage of the bill by the US Congress on Dec. 8, Abbas Araqchi, head of the Foreign Ministry's office for the JCPOA implementation, said the government was weighing how to respond.

"There are many dimensions to the legislation, which we are examining. If it is a violation of the JCPOA provisions, we will take action," he said.