Iran’s Zarif: Implementation of New US Visa Law Tantamount to Breach of JCPOA

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said should the new law that tightens visa-free travel to the US come into force, it would be tantamount to a breach of the July nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, known as the JCPOA.

Iran’s Zarif: Implementation of New US Visa Law Tantamount to Breach of JCPOA

If the law takes effect exactly as approved by the US Congress, it would be considered as the breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the lasting accord between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Mongolian counterpart Lundeg Purevsuren in Tehran on Wednesday.

The Iranian top diplomat was referring to a new bill passed by the US Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, which will prevent visa-free travel to the United States for people who have visited Iran or hold Iranian nationality.

However, Zarif added, if the US administration utilizes its power and officially announces, as did Secretary of State John Kerry, that the law will not prevent the implementation of the JCPOA, Iran will consider the issue and decide whether the law is a breach of the agreement or not.

Zarif said Iran discusses the issue with the US administration as the representative of the entire US and that the country does not care about the Congress and its laws.

He further emphasized that the US government has certain commitments based on international law and rules set for relations between states and that it should resolve its domestic issues as it sees fit.

According to the 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 to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.

It means citizens of many EU countries and the rest of the 38 states participating in the program who travel to Iran either for business or visiting the country’s attractions will have to obtain a visa should they ever want to enter the US.

On December 18, 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.

Tehran and the Group 5+1 (also known as P5+1 or E3+3) on July 14 reached a conclusion over the text of JCPOA, a comprehensive 159-page deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

The nuclear deal would terminate all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran after coming into force.

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