Iran and Iraq vow reciprocal measures on US visa ban

Iraqi Parliament

Iranian and Iraqi officials have vowed to take measures against US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran and Iraq, from entering the US.

Lawmakers in Baghdad voted in parliament on Monday for a reciprocity measure to block American citizens from entering the country if the US does not withdraw the visa ban against Iraqi travellers. Although the decision is not binding, it has fuelled anti-American sentiment, officials said.

Iranian officials were more vocal of their condemnation of the order, which has been called the ‘Muslim ban’; a charge Mr Trump and his administration has denied.

Speaking on Monday, Iran’s first vice president Es’haq Jahangiri called the order, “illegal, inhumane and in violation of human rights”, adding Tehran will take reciprocal measures.

Tweeting about the decision immediately after it was released on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the order would be recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters.

Tehran also served Swiss Ambassador Giulio Haas, who is said to represent US interests in Iran, an official letter to protest Trump’s decision.

US officials have defended the decision, which has left hundreds of people stranded at airports across the world and unable to get into the country, saying the measure is temporary and aimed at bolstering the country’s security.

Commentators have noted that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, two countries Washington has important economic and military ties with, are not included in the list, despite the majority of attacks on US soil being perpetrated by nationals from the two Muslim-majority states.