Human Rights

State Department Warns U.S. Citizens Against Visiting Iran in Wake of Nuke Deal

The State Department issued an advisory warning Americans not to visit Iran due to the threat of detention and imprisonment on false charges, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

“This deal over Iran’s nuclear program does not alter the United States’s assessment of the risks of travel to Iran for US citizens,” it said on the same day President Barack Obama defended the nuclear deal as preventing the Tehran regime, which he said is hostile to the US, from obtaining nuclear weapons. …

The threat of detention, including for long periods, is especially acute for Americans of Iranian heritage, the State Department said.

“Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States. As a result, US citizens may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran. Since 2009, Iranian authorities have prevented the departure, in some cases for several months, of a number of Iranian-American citizens, including journalists and academics, who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons.”

The Times noted that three Americans are currently imprisoned by Iran, including Christian pastor Saeed Abedini; Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian; and former US Marine Amir Hekmati. Rezaian just began his second year in prison and is currently undergoing a secret trial for espionage. All three are dual Iranian-American citizens, though the State Department warned that Iran does not recognize dual citizenship and denies U.S. authorities access to these prisoners. Americans were further told to avoid visiting areas in Iran where repressed minorities reside as they “remain unsafe.” The State Department’s list of repressed minorities in Iran include Christians, Azeris, Balochs, Baha’i, and Arabs.

Today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement celebrating National Reporters Day, which made no mention of the incarceration and trial of Rezaian.

[Photo: Intele / Wikimedia ]