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Trump authorizes travel ban on top Iranian officials, their families

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has authorized his State Department to put a travel ban on top Iranian officials and their families over baseless “terrorism” charges.

The White House unveiled the travel ban in a proclamation on its website on Wednesday, stating that “senior officials of the Government of Iran” and their “immediate family members” were not allowed to enter the United States as immigrants or non-immigrants.

In the proclamation, Trump repeated long-time US claims that Iran is a sponsor of terror and argued that the individuals’ entry could be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The statement also accused Iran of threatening its neighbors as well as international shipping in the Persian Gulf region.

A US State Department spokesman told Reuters on condition of anonymity that letting Iranian officials into the country “would be counter to our interests and be seen as turning a blind eye to these actions.”

Trump said the ban would remain in place as long as the State Department sees fit.

He said, however, that the ban should not interfere with America’s obligations under applicable agreements.

This while, ironically, the US refused to issue visas for members of the Iranian and Russian delegations who were supposed to partake in the 74th United Nations General Assembly which is being held in New York this week.

Both Tehran and Moscow have condemned the decision, saying it runs against Washington’s international obligations on the grounds that the diplomats were not traveling to the US for bilateral meetings.

Trump’s move comes weeks after his administrations imposed blacklisted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

The sanctions are an extension of the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign that seeks to force Iran into revoking its ballistic missile program and roll back its regional influence.

Trump ratcheted up tensions with Tehran in May last year, when he withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the country’s economy.

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