Iranians critical, confused over new Trump travel ban

‘Trump’s fake empathy for Iranians rings ever more hollow,’ says Tehran’s foreign minister, as renewed restrictions cause consternation

A Boeing 747 of Iran's national airline is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, June 2003. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)
A Boeing 747 of Iran's national airline is seen at Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran, June 2003. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)

In the streets of Tehran, Iranians say they are confused by a new travel ban instituted by US President Donald Trump Sunday.

Roghieh Shahverdi, a 23-year-old secretary, told The Associated Press on Monday that she viewed it as “a miserable decision.” She said after waiting months she only just got a visa interview appointment for her mother to visit her sister, who has lived in the US for six years.

“All the hopes of both are fading away,” Shahverdi said.

Trump issued the open-ended travel ban Sunday. The new restrictions replace an existing measure that had locked Trump in political and legal battles since he took office in January, over what critics alleged was an effort to block Muslims from the country.

The White House has insisted that the measure was to protect the United States from terror attacks.

The new ban removed Sudan from the list, but added North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, for a total of eight countries singled out by the new policy for what US officials said was their poor security and lack of cooperation with US authorities.

“We are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday.

“We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country.”

The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and some from Venezuela — will go into effect on October 18.

The restrictions range from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions. A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, will apply only to certain government officials and their immediate families.

University student Erfan Maddah wrote online that he was “totally confused” by the decision.

“I have student visa appointment on October 4, I do not know if I have to continue or not,” Maddah wrote.

Iran’s foreign minister, too, criticized Trump for the newly announced travel restrictions.

Mohammed Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter early Monday: “Trump’s fake empathy for Iranians rings ever more hollow, with his new and even more offensive travel ban against such outstanding citizens.”

Zarif, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, has taken to Twitter before to criticize Trump.

The announcement of the ban came the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries was set to expire, 90 days after it went into effect.

That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lacked a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the US.

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