US bars Iranians from trade and investment visas

US bars Iranians from trade and investment visas
2 min read
23 January, 2020
Washington says the move resulted from its withdrawal from a little-known treaty more than a year ago.
Iranians are also included in Trump's so-called 'Muslim ban' [Getty]
The United States has barred all Iranians from entering the country on trade and investment visas from Thursday.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services said the change was due to the termination in October 2018 of a treaty of amity in Iran, Reuters reported.

After Washington withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear and missile programmes, the International Court of Justice ruled the US had violated the treaty.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo subsequently said Washington had "terminated" the treaty, a move he claimed was "39 years overdue".

Iranians will no longer be eligible for E-1 and E-2 non-immigrant visas which allow citizens of other countries to enter the US and engage in international trade or invest large sums of money, USCIS said.

Those already in the country will have to leave once their current visa expires, it added.

The relatively unknown agreement was inked long before Iran and the US became arch-enemies. 

The pact - officially known as the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights - was signed in 1955, just a few years after the US- and UK-backed coup against Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh.

The move to terminate Iranians' access to trade and investment visas comes at a time of escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran after the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

It also comes as the Trump administration mulls adding seven additional countries to its much-discussed "Muslim ban", which includes Iran.

In contrast to its original iteration, the current travel 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.

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