TEHRAN – Iran will ban American citizens from entering the country as a response to Trump’s “insulting” immigration policy for seven Muslim states, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
The fallout grew Saturday from Trump’s immigration crackdown as U.S. legal permanent residents and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries who had left the United States found they could not return for 90 days.
Iran’s foreign ministry called the decision “illegal, illogical and contrary to international rules”.
It said its own ban on US nationals would continue until the American measure was lifted.
The ministry said it had ordered Iranian diplomatic missions to help Iranians who had been “prevented from returning to their homes and places of work and study” in the United States.
Travel agents in Tehran said that foreign airlines had begun barring Iranians from US-bound flights.
Iran on Saturday condemned the U.S. visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries as an “open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation” and vowed to retaliate.
A Foreign Ministry statement carried by state media said Iran “would take appropriate consular, legal and political measures” against the ban, which was announced by President Donald Trump on Friday.
Five Iraqi passengers and one Yemeni were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday following President Donald Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, International media reported on Saturday.
According to NY Post, the six passengers, bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport, were prevented from boarding EgyptAir Flight 985 at Cairo airport despite holding valid immigration visas.
The five Iraqis had arrived in transit from Erbil and were being held at the airport until they could be re-boarded on flights back to Iraq, whereas the Yemeni passenger had arrived at the airport from elsewhere in Cairo, they added.
Controversial ban on refugees and criticism
Trump on Friday signed an executive order putting a ban on entry of Muslims from seven countries and suspending the entire US refugee resettlement program.
Fulfilling the promise, he made during the nail-biting election campaign, Trump at a ceremony to swear in James Mattis as his secretary of defence, signed a decree entitled: ‘Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States’.
Initially, the US refugee resettlement program has been suspended for 120 days so that the new Trump administration can establish new vetting rules, probably more strict for visa applicants.
‘This is big stuff,’ he declared, to polite applause from audience mainly top military officials.
The new order specifically bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat to the nation.
On the other hand, no visas will be issued for 90 days to travellers, whether would-be visitors or migrants, from seven mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday used his own page to criticise Donald Trump’s executive order that will severely limit immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries.
Zuckerberg became the first high-profile tech industry leader to open up about Trump’s foreign policy aimed at banning citizens from Muslim countries and mainly Syria.
“Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,” the Facebook CEO wrote on his Facebook page.
“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat … We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That’s who we are.” his statement added.
The United Nations also urged President Donald Trump on Saturday to continue his country’s “long tradition” of welcoming refugees and ensure equal treatment for them all regardless of race, nationality or religion.
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticised his US counterpart Donald Trump on Saturday, saying now was “not the time to build walls between nations”.
“They have forgotten that the Berlin Wall collapsed many years ago. Even if there are walls between nations, they must be removed,” Rouhani said at a tourism convention in Tehran.
Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Pakistani Nobel Peace laureate, also criticised the US President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending refugee arrival and entry from seven Muslim countries.