October 4, 2023

NIAC Opposes New Legislation Aimed at Banning U.S. Travel to Iran

Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council President Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Representatives Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) calling for the U.S. to ban travel to Iran:

“The effort to ban U.S. travel to Iran is an affront to the hundreds of thousands of Iranian Americans who travel to Iran regularly. The Islamic Republic’s detention and ransoming of Iranian American dual nationals is unconscionable and we condemn this practice in the strongest possible terms. But the solution to Iran’s heinous actions is not for the U.S. to further punish people and isolate Iranians. Just as NIAC helped lead the effort to oppose and ultimately overturn the ban against Iranians traveling to the U.S., we will defeat these proposals to ban U.S. travel to Iran.”

“This travel ban was first proposed by former President Donald Trump’s Iran Envoy Elliott Abrams, who himself was indicted for his role in covering up the Reagan Administration’s sale of weapons to Iran, who proposed jail time for Americans who attempt to travel to Iran. The ban was then endorsed by Sen. Bob Menendez, one of Congress’ most prominent Iran hawks who is now facing corruption charges for his own nefarious foreign dealings. Now, Rep. Joe Wilson – who helped orchestrate the U.S. travel ban on North Korea in 2017 and is closely aligned with groups like MEK and NUFDI – is leading legislation aimed at making the ban a reality.”

“It is estimated that tens of thousands of Americans travel to Iran each year. For Iranian Americans, because Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, an Iranian passport is typically used. But while the U.S. government does not have jurisdiction over Iranian passports, the government is able to take measures to ‘deter’ such travel and to make it illegal to pay for such travel.”

“Isolating the Iranian people, whether through bans on U.S. travel to Iran or by bans on Iranian travel to the U.S., only undermines them and separates families. Addressing Iran’s hostage taking is a serious challenge among many that are posed by Iran. We support targeted measures, including targeted human rights sanctions, to address these challenges as part of a diplomatic strategy. But sweeping bans to prevent ordinary people from traveling, just like broad sanctions, is a form of collective punishment that is wrong morally and strategically.”

“We will work to defeat this proposal that would divide Iranian Americans from our loved ones.”


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