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Iran condemns 'inhumane' US treatment of its nationals after student deportation

Iranians are subject to the Trump administration's so-called 'Muslim ban' [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 January, 2020

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The recent deportation of a student has highlighted the treatment of Iranian nationals at the US border.
Iran condemned on Saturday what it called the "illegal and inhumane treatment" of its citizens by US border security officers after reports an Iranian student was deported despite having a valid visa.

"Such absolutely discriminatory measures that only happen over people's race, nationality or religion are against international human rights laws and principles," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

"These individuals were questioned by America's border security over their political views and beliefs, and their social media accounts were forcefully entered," he said in a statement.

Shahab Dehghani, a 24-year-old Iranian economics student at Northwestern University, arrived in Boston with a valid student visa but was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol at Logan International Airport, US media reported on Monday.

Dehghani's case has brought attention to the treatement of Iranians at the US border as the Trump administration mulls adding several more countries to its so-called "Muslim ban".

Earlier this month, dozens of American citizens of Iranian descent were detained on the US-Canadian border shortly after the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad, Iraq.

Iran is one of seven mostly Muslim-majority countries affected by the Trump administration's travel ban, which first came into affect in early 2017.

Such absolutely discriminatory measures that only happen over people's race, nationality or religion are against international human rights laws and principles
- Abbas Mousavi, Foreign Ministry Spokesman
The current iteration of the ban suspends immigrant and non-immigrant visas to applicants from the affected countries, but it allows exceptions, including for students and those who have established "significant contacts" in the US.

Washington also barred Iranian citizens from entering the US on trade and investment visas earlier this month.

"These actions against Iranians are in line with the American regime's hostile and hateful policy against Iran... now manifested in harassing Iranians at America's borders," Mousavi said on Saturday.

Tensions have soared between Tehran and Washington since the killing of Soleimani on January 3.

Iran retaliated five days later by launching a wave of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq, injuring more than 30 soldiers.

The spokesman warned the United States could face action "through human rights bodies", without elaborating.

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