A senior Iranian foreign ministry official said Tehran would take “action” against Washington if a new bill passed by the US House of Representatives tightening visa-free travel to the US is proved to have breached the July comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi said Iran is negotiating with P5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) and with the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator on the recent legislation passed by the US House of Representatives.
According to the bill, which was passed by 407 to 19 on Tuesday, 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.
Araghchi said the bill has “diverse legal aspects” and Iran is examining them.
“If it is proved to be in breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we will take action,” he said.
Araghchi noted, though, that the bill has not been finalized yet.
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.
The bill HR158 means citizens of many EU countries and the rest of the 38 states participating in the program who travel to Iran for pleasure or business will have to obtain a visa should they ever want to enter the US.
The decision comes before implementation of the JCPOA.
The final nuclear deal, known as a big confidence-building step in relations between Iran and the West, is going to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran after coming into force.