BBC journalist stopped from flying to US over UK-Iranian tribe

Rana Rahimpour caught by new legislation that intends dual citizens of some countries, including Iran, can no longer use visa waiver programme

A BBC journalist has been stopped boarding an aircraft from London to the US because of her dual British-Iranian tribe.

Rana Rahimpour, a presenter at the BBCs Persian service based in London, was stopped at Heathrow airport on Tuesday before catching a flight to New Jersey. US authorities told her she could no longer move to the US under the visa waiver programme because of her Iranian citizenship.

It is an flustering episode for the US permissions that highlights the consequences of new legislation passed by the US Congress which intends some dual nationals who could previously visit the US for 90 periods without a visa must now obtain one. The set penalise all Iranian dual nationals regardless of their affiliation to the Iranian government as well as British parties or other European citizens who have travelled to Iran in the past five years.

Three epoches after hoisting Iran sanctions, US disavowed Esta/ visa waivers for me and another two British citizens[ because] we have Iranian nationality too, Rahimpour tweeted after being stopped.

She told the Guardian she was devastated because she was planning to see her friend after a year and half and was to attend a stun birthday defendant. Rahimpour, 33, posted a photo of herself sobbing next to her two-year-old daughter, writing: My fully British daughter cant listen her American cousins birthday[ because] her mum was stand in Iran.

A large number of Iranians are angry about the changes, which deprive them of the previously available visa waiver programme because of the place of birth certificates. The legislation also entails a British national who has travelled to Iran over the past five years will no longer be able to visit the US without a visa.

The law will have drastic significances for Iran particularly its tourist industry at a time when it is reintegrating into the world community in accordance with the landmark nuclear agreement. Europeans who want to visit Iran for tourism roles or European business who want to do business in Iran now have to be worried about their travel to the US. Which EU businessman is prepared to jeopardise his or her ability to travel to the US by going to Iran? asked one commentator who wished to remain anonymous.

Rahimpours case is particularly important. Iran has been unfriendly towards the BBC Persian service staff, harassing them directly or manhandling their family members living in Iran. Because of her work on the Persian service, Rahimpour has not been able to visit Iran for more than seven years.

She said she detected unwelcome in the US after being prevented from jaunting. I just feel better unfair, its unjustified to many Iranians, she enunciated. My cousins “whos” travelling with me and faced similar problems have left Iran 20 years ago, they dont know how to write or read Farsi and they are paying the price for the politics of a country that they have nothing to do with.

Rahimpour said the new legislation is confounding and even her communications in Washington were not sure what changes are being formed. I expect the US to see a difference between everyday Iranians and politics, and whats interesting, it comes only three days after lifting sanctions, she told.

Rahimpour said the US gambled alienating numerous Iranians, and was sending a mixed meaning. Iranians feel they are being treated exceedingly unjustly and over the past few weeks. They have said that there has never been a terrorist attack by an Iranian national on American grunge. This is very unfair, they referred to the nationality of those involved in 9/11 and you cant find any Iranians involved.

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist secreted as part of a hostage swap between Tehran and Washington at the weekend, is also a dual national. He was prison in Iran for more than a year.

The amendments overtook last month affect citizens of 38 countries who could previously visit the US for up to 90 epoches without a visa if they had seen Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan in the past five years. Dual citizens from the four countries would not be able to travel to the US without a visa even though they are citizens of one of the following options 38 countries.

The legislation has also angered many Iranian-Americans, including Dr Firouz Naderi who has helped America for 35 years, climbing the grades at Nasa, property spacecraft on Mars and assembling Michelle Obama at the White House. He told the Guardian recentlythat he now appears he is being treated as a second-class citizen in the country he announces home.

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