Iran Vows to Bar Americans in Response to Trump's Visa Ban, Calling It an 'Affront to the Muslim World'

Tehran says it will reciprocate Trump's ban on travelers from the Islamic Republic.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani speaking at a conference in Tehran, on January 28, 2017.
Iranian Presidency, AFP

Iran said on Saturday it would stop U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington's visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries announced by new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iran condemned the ban as an "open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation."

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"While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

"The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America... are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists," said the statement, carried by state media.

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The U.S. ban will make it virtually impossible for relatives and friends of an estimated one million Iranian-Americans to visit the United States

Earlier on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was no time to build walls between nations and criticised steps towards cancelling world trade agreements, without naming Trump.

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The new Republican president on Friday put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from Iran Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. He said the moves would protect Americans from terrorism. 

The executive order prompted fury from Arab travelers in the Middle East and North Africa who said it was humiliating and discriminatory. It drew widespread criticism from U.S. Western allies including France and Germany, Arab American groups, human rights organizations.