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Iranian parliament seeks ban on Israeli-born visitors

MPs want new legislation after Yedioth’s Orly Azoulay traveled to Islamic Republic for report on nuke deal, sparking outcry

Screenshot from an Iranian report on Orly Azoulay's trip to Iran this month.
Screenshot from an Iranian report on Orly Azoulay's trip to Iran this month.

The Iranian parliament is seeking to bar all Israeli-born visitors from the country.

The move for the legislation follows a visit to Iran a few weeks ago by a US-based Israeli journalist, who apparently entered the country using her American passport.

Would-be visitors using Israeli passports are banned from Iran, which calls relentlessly for the demise of Israel. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei last year tweeted a nine-point plan for destroying Israel. Earlier this month, an Iranian militia chief called Israel’s destruction “nonnegotiable.” On Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu equated the Iranian regime’s bid for nuclear weapons to the Nazis’ efforts to wipe out the Jews.

A special Iranian parliamentary investigation was launched into how Orly Azoulay entered Iran. It found that the reporter was “not a spy,” but that her visit should have been prevented, according to a report Friday.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s Israeli-born Azoulay entered Iran ahead of the landmark framework deal between world powers and Iran earlier this month, stayed for two weeks, and reported on reactions to the nuclear agreement for the Israeli paper.

The visit sparked the internal investigation and the Iranian parliament is now said to be preparing new legislation that would “ban entry to people who were born in Israel to Iran in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

Azoulay, Yediot’s Washington bureau chief, has said she did not try to conceal the fact that she was born in Israel and that she entered the country with an official visa from the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Her visit caused an outcry in Iran. An Iranian MP accused her of espionage and the authorities of failing to prevent her entry.

“She has no business here other than espionage,” the unidentified MP said in an Iranian TV report picked up by Ynet. “The question is: where is our intelligence system?”

According to reports in the Iranian press cited by Ynet, Iran’s government bodies have been trying to blame each other for the affair.

The spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Hossein Nooshabadi, said Azoulay “entered Iran on an American passport, she didn’t have a press card and came in as a tourist, an American resident with an American group – the Foreign Ministry and intelligence services must therefore provide an answer,” according to Ynet.

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