US Visa Law against Europe’s Independence: Iran’s FM
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a new bill that the US Congress passed to tighten visa-free travel to the US runs counter to the independence of the European countries.
The discriminatory bill that the US House of Representatives passed to tighten visa-free travel to the US and President Barack Obama signed into law is “firstly against Europe’s independence,” Zarif said on Monday, in a meeting with President of the French Senate Gerard Larcher in Tehran.
The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that the European states need to “express their independent will” in reaction to such discriminatory US conducts.
For his part, Larcher underlined that Paris adopts its own independent stance towards the move, noting that the French Senate will take serious action to change that behavior by the US.
According to a bill, which was passed in the US House by 407 to 19 on December 8, visitors from the 38 “visa waiver” countries will need to obtain a visa to travel to the US if they have been in Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.
Citizens of 38 countries, many in the EU, can currently fly to the US without applying for a visa under America’s Visa Waiver Program.
The new legislation initially said those eligible for the waiver program who had travelled to “terrorist hotspots” like Iraq and Syria where the ISIL terrorist group controls territory would need to obtain a US visa.
But the final version included Iran and Sudan to the list of countries.
On Friday, US lawmakers sent Obama a huge tax and spending package, which also included reforms of the US visa waiver program. The president quickly signed it into law before leaving Washington for his annual holiday vacation.