Iran: US visa waiver changes contradict nuke deal
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Iran: US visa waiver changes contradict nuke deal

In letter, Kerry suggests multiple-entry business visas to avoid curtailing trade ties stipulated in accord

Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi addresses the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Iraq on September 19, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi addresses the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on Iraq on September 19, 2014 at UN headquarters in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Changes to a US visa waiver program that impose travel restrictions on those who visit Iran contradict the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Sunday.

The US in recent days tightened security requirements of its visa waiver program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the US without visas. Now, people from those countries who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the past five years must obtain visas to enter the US.

The new rule was signed into law by US President Barack Obama on Friday as part of a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

Under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the world powers including the US are committed to refrain from any policy intended to adversely affect normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.

“The law Obama signed contradicts JCPOA,” state TV quoted Araghchi as saying. “Definitely, this law adversely affects economic, cultural, scientific and tourism relations.”

Araghchi said Iran will go to the commission overseeing the implementation of the deal if the law is implemented.

In a letter to his Iranian counterpart, US Secretary of State John Kerry reassured Iran that the law “will not in any way prevent us from meeting our JCPOA commitments.”

Kerry noted in the letter to Mohammad Javad Zarif that there are “a number of potential tools available,” including multiple entry ten-year business visas and programs for expediting business visas.

On Sunday, a group of 102 Iranian lawmakers condemned the new legislation and called on President Hassan Rouhani to take retaliatory measures against the US. However, they did not say what specific steps Iran can take. Iran’s 290-seat parliament is controlled by conservatives.

Under the nuclear agreement reached in July with the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, Iran is to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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