Iran: Travel Ban Is ‘Shameful’ to All Iranians Fighting ISIS and Upholding Nuclear Deal

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Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (pictured) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speak to the media following talks in Berlin, on June 27. Despite its active role in battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria as well as receiving international praise for its compliance with a U.S.-led multilateral nuclear deal in 2015, Iran remains a bitter foe of President Donald Trump’s administration, which accuses Tehran of sponsoring terrorism and included it on a list of countries from which citizens are mostly restricted from traveling to the U.S. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Iranian officials have blasted the U.S.’s decision to partially reinstate a ban on incoming nationals from six majority-Muslim countries, including Iran, arguing it is assisting in the fight against militant groups and has complied with the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter Friday to condemn the Supreme Court’s decision this week to allow the White House to prohibit U.S. travel for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen unless they prove a “credible claim of bona fide relationship” with someone in the U.S.

The travel ban, which originally included Iraq and omitted exemptions for familial or professional relationships, was devised by President Donald Trump, who designated individuals from these six countries in the Middle East and North Africa as credible threats to national security.

Zarif has long been a critic of the ban, especially after Iran received praise Friday from the U.N. and EU for respecting the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians,” Zarif tweeted on his official account.

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“The U.N. & entire world say Iran is in full compliance with its commitments, but U.S. visceral hatred of Iran compels it to deny the obvious,” he added, referring to international acknowledgment of Iran’s efforts to denuclearize in exchange for the U.S. rolling back economic sanctions as part of  JCPOA.

GettyImages-801882732 Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (pictured) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speak to the media following talks in Berlin, on June 27. Despite its active role in battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria as well as receiving international praise for its compliance with a U.S.-led multilateral nuclear deal in 2015, Iran remains a bitter foe of President Donald Trump’s administration, which accuses Tehran of sponsoring terrorism and included it on a list of countries from which citizens are mostly restricted from traveling to the U.S. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Zarif played a leading role in the negotiations with the administration of former President Barack Obama that ultimately led to the JCPOA deal being reached between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany in July 2015. While the deal moderately improved U.S.-Iranian relations, it was opposed by conservatives in both countries and repeatedly attacked by Trump as he campaigned and came to office. He and his supporters accuse Iran of breaching their side of the deal and, despite a White House–sponsored review finding Iran was in compliance of the deal in April, Trump has continued to target Iran in his foreign policy.

In addition to opposing Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, which Tehran argues is solely for energy purposes, the U.S. has long accused Iran of destabilizing the region through its funding of militant and political groups such as Lebanon’s Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. Hezbollah, an avowed enemy of U.S. ally Israel, has been accused of conducting bombs and assassinations around the world, but its fighters are also deeply involved in the fight against ISIS and other insurgents trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran-backed forces, which fight alongside the Syrian army, have also made widespread gains against jihadists, but their advances have frustrated U.S. attempts to secure influence in parts of Syria where ISIS has been defeated and the U.S. military has been declared illegal by Assad’s government. As a result, the U.S. has increasingly targeted the Syrian army and allied militias, angering both Iran and Assad’s other international backer, Russia.

RTS194FD A map shows areas of control in Iraq as of June 19. An alliance of Iraqi military, Kurdish forces, majority-Shiite Muslim militias backed by Iran and U.S.-led coalition forces have all but defeated the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq. The U.S., however, has expressed concerns about Iran’s growing influence in the country and in neighboring Syria in the wake of ISIS’s collapse. Institute for the Study of War/U.S. Central Command

Across the border, Iran has played a key role in reversing ISIS’s 2014 takeover of nearly half of Iraq. Iran sponsors a number of majority–Shiite Muslim militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces that work alongside the Iraqi military and Kurdish militants in defeating ISIS. The U.S. has reluctantly accepted the role of these forces in Iraq, which has a Shiite Muslim majority, but has accused them of committing revenge attacks on the local Sunni Muslim population. The Popular Mobilization Forces are advancing along the country‘s border with Syria as Iran-backed forces in Syria conduct a parallel offensive against ISIS. Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said Thursday his country’s role against ISIS was superior to that of the U.S.

“At the time when Iraq was being overrun by Daesh, by ISIS, did the United States make the slightest move in defense of it? Or was it the Iranian nation that rendered aid to the Iraqi nation and Iraq government?” Larijani told CNN.

“Had we not assisted them, Baghdad would have been occupied by ISIS. It is with the help of Iran that Daesh, ISIS, is on its last breath in Iraq (and Syria),” Larijani added.