NIAC has obtained a copy of the original english language version of the letter Secretary of State John Kerry sent to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif listing three instruments that the U.S. Government can use to ensure that the new Visa Waiver Reform law does not violate the JCPOA. While these are welcome steps from NIAC's perspective, it remains unclear how these steps will ensure that dual citizens are not discriminated against solely on the basis of their nationality.
December 19, 2015
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Zarif
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Tehran
Dear Mr. Minister:
Thanks for a constructive meeting yesterday. I wanted to get back to you in response to your inquiry about amendments to our Visa Waiver Program. First, I want to confirm to you that we remain fully committed to the sanctions lifting provided for under the JCPOA. We will adhere to the full measure of our commitments, per the agreement. Our team is working hard to be prepared and as soon as we reach implementation day we will lift appropriate sanctions.
I am also confident that the recent changes in visa requirements passed in Congress, which the Administration has the authority to waive, will not in any way prevent us from meeting our JCPOA commitments, and that we will implement them so as not to interfere with legitimate business interests of Iran. To this end, we have a number of potential tools available to us, including multiple entry ten-year business visas, programs for expediting business visas, and the waiver authority provided under the new legislation. I am happy to discuss this further and provide any additional clarification.
Secretary of State John Kerry
Source: Press TV
A senior Iranian lawmaker has criticized new US legislation to tighten visa-free travel to the United States, saying it violates an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in mid-July.
For more than 25 years, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allowed people from 38 countries, namely European states, Australia, Japan and South Korea, to travel to the US without applying for a visa.
However, US President Barack Obama on Saturday signed a USD-1.1-trillion funding bill that aims to exclude from the VWP all dual nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan, and anyone else who has traveled to those countries in the past five years. Such foreign nationals are now required to obtain a visa through standard measures, including face-to-face interview at a US consulate.
Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters on Sunday that the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stipulates that Washington should set no new restrictions on Iran.
"It is true that they (Americans) have set restrictions on citizens of other countries but they have committed such a violation indirectly," the senior Iranian legislator said.
Boroujerdi emphasized that attempts by Washington to sabotage the agreement could never hinder implementation of JCPOA.
Government must adopt reciprocal measures: Iran Parliament
Over 100 of Iranian lawmakers on Sunday called on the government to adopt reciprocal measures in proportion to the US move to change the VWP.
In a written note to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, 102 legislators said the government should adopt tough reciprocal measures related to implementation of JCPOA in case of violation of its contents.
They also emphasized that if the Iranian government refrains from taking a firm action, Washington will repeatedly violate JCPOA.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany - finalized the text of JCPOA in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14.
Under JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic related to its nuclear program.
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