BBC journalist Rana Rahimpour barred from flying to US over foul changes to US visa rules
BBC journalist Rana Rahimpour who has a dual British-Iranian nationality has been barred from flying to the US by the authorities saying she could not travel using a visa waiver scheme. The new laws required dual citizens to apply for visa at the US embassy, but the journalist said it was unclear whether the rules had already been implemented.
BBC reported that the UK foreign office website posted that the changes in visa rules will start April 1, but the US State Department's official website posted that they have started "the process of implementing changes" to the visa waiver scheme. Rahimpour only learned that she wasn't allowed to travel to the US due to her nationality after she contacted the agency in charge of the waiver.
The journalist for BBC's Persian service said the new rules are "very unfair." She said the new rules prohibit travel for Iranians who gained their nationality from parentage of marriage. These rules will also prohibit dual citizens with Syrian, Sudanese, and Iraqu nationalities. It has sparked anger against these minorities.
According to The New York Times, these new travel restrictions on people with dual citizenship were passed into law December after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. These new rules were directed to suspected members of ISIS. Iran may consist of Shiite Muslims, but it is an enemy of ISIS and is supporting the fight against the extremist Muslims. The country has protested against these restrictions.
Just this Tuesday, Politico wrote that a senior administration official said, "The US government has not yet begun denying any of these applications. This means Rahimpour should not have been restricted from flying to the US.
"The US government is conducting a phased implementation of the new Visa Waiver Program legislation," said the official. "Certain applications have been referred to a review process based on the enactment of the law."
This only means that the there is confusion within the administration on the status f the law, whether it has been implemented or not. This dual nationality rule is very tricky since there is international agreement on how to handle people with multiple nationalities.