Abdolhossein Mokhtabad, a reformist member of Tehran City Council, says the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s move to reciprocate US President Donald Trump’s visa ban has barred American academics and cultural figures from attending Iranian conferences and seminars.
Here is the full text of his Farsi article published in Khabar Online:
If you have followed the latest news over the past few days, you must have read or heard that Iran’s Foreign Ministry reciprocated US President Donald Trump’s decision and issued a visa ban on American nationals travelling to Iran. However, Tehran exempted American wrestlers from the ban and allowed them to travel to Iran to attend Wrestling World Cup due to be held in the Iranian city of Kermanshah.
The eighth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) scheduled to be held in Iran’s Shiraz from 9-13 March was also cancelled due to Trump’s unwise order. Iranologists from 22 countries were to attend the meeting.
A report suggests that organizers of the international event contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue, but their talks bore no fruit. At the end, they had to call off the gathering because most of the non-Iranian participants were American researchers. This came as many international researchers had made plans to take part in the conference.
Fortunately, in the case of the wrestlers, the general mood of the Iranian society and efforts by the Iranian Wrestling Federation prompted a decision to allow American wrestlers to travel to Iran. But the Iranian Foreign Ministry could not do anything for American academicians, especially professors of the Persian Language, who are keen on the Iranian culture, and a seminar of such significance was affected by an unwise decision.
It seems the Iranian Foreign Ministry should reverse its reciprocal visa ban on American nationals. We have seen that over the past few days, large numbers of ordinary American citizens as well as academics and artists have staged rallies in different cities in protest at Trump’s decision. Statistics show the presence of Iranians in the United States is of a cultural type. More than 12,000 Iranian university students and renowned professors in the US are making their presence felt in different intellectual, cultural, scientific and other areas, symbolizing Iranians’ potential and capabilities.
So, we recommend that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his colleagues at the ministry work out a solution to the problem and turn this threat into an opportunity to promote the Iranian culture.