Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

US visa ban targets Iranians: Why not Saudis and Pakistanis?

The US House of Representatives has wrongly slapped Iranians with a new visa restriction instead of targeting those with the extremist mindset of San Bernardino killers, a report says.

The US House overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday in favor of tougher travel restrictions for foreign citizens allowed to enter the United States without a visa.

The bill, which was passed by 407 to 19, is the second security legislation approved in the lower chamber in response to the Paris attacks on November 13.

The measure would require visitors from the 38 “visa waiver” countries to obtain a visa to travel to the US if they have been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.

The move also follows the December 2 killing of over a dozen people by a couple in San Bernardino, California.

Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, stormed a holiday party in San Bernardino, killing at least 14 people and injuring 21 others in the deadliest mass shooting in the US in three years. Hours later, the couple who reportedly harbored extremist ideology and supported the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, died in a fire fight with police.

Now a report by the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, says the US House’s visa measure wrongly targets Iranians who have never subscribed to such an ideology or engaged in similar acts of terror.

The report said, “A radicalized, American-born Pakistani went to Saudi Arabia and married another Pakistani brainwashed with an extremist version of Wahhabism that is the Saudi state religion. The couple came to the US and shot up a Christmas office party killing 14 people.”

“Guess who is being chosen for punishment for this despicable crime? Iranian Americans, who have never shared that extremist ideology and who, as far as we know, have never had anything to do with this or any other act of terrorism anywhere in the world.”

The report also drew on the US double standards in treating terrorism and questioned Washington’s readiness to look the other way regarding Saudi records.

“Everyone knows that the never-never desert kingdom ruled by the house of Saud was heavily implicated in 9/11. Everyone knows the Saudis have for decades spread the virulent, hardcore ideology of Wahhabism that is now carried by the Taliban, al-Qaida, Isis (Daesh), Boko Haram, and a dozen other terrorist franchises from Chechnya and Balochistan [in Pakistan] to Chad. And yet, the Saudis appear untouchable.”

This is while other critics have already slammed the US House bill for also stripping visa waiver privileges from all Syrian and Iraqi nationals. They say the bill needs to focus on terrorism, not the country or origin.

The controversial bill now needs to clear the US Senate, which is the upper house of Congress, and get President Barack Obama’s signature to become law.

Press TV

File photo shows Syed Rizwan Farook (R) and Tashfeen Malik upon entering the US last year.

See also:

Will changes to US Visa Waiver Program torpedo Iran deal implementation?

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