Administration warns that tightening visa waivers would violate Iran nuclear deal

Measures being considered by Congress to tighten the visa waiver program to keep terrorists out of the country would violate the nuclear deal with Iran, say both the administration and the Iranians.

Congress wants to increase restrictions on people who have traveled to countries that harbor terrorists – countries like Iran.  But the Iranians have been warning in recent days that any change to the visa waiver program would result in Iran walking away from the nuclear agreement. 

Washington Free Beacon:

Iranian officials have in recent days repeatedly issued threatening statements to the Obama administration, saying that such moves would violate the nuclear agreement, and the Obama administration last week conveyed the Iranian anger to American lawmakers.

Stephen Mull, the State Department official in charge of implementing the Iran deal, warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee late last week that these congressional efforts “could have a very negative impact on the deal.”

Under the revised law, which came in the week of a deadly terrorist attack in California, individuals who have travelled to Iran—a lead sponsor of global terrorism—would no longer be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which permits individuals from 38 partner nations to more easily enter the United States.

Congress remains concerned that gaps in the program could prevent federal law enforcement officials from detecting terror-tied individuals before they are granted entrance to U.S. soil.

However, a portion of the Iran nuclear deal mandates that the United States not take any action that could harm Iran’s economic relationships with other countries. Iranian officials maintain that the new restrictions violate this passage of the deal.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, said last week that these tightened measures “are aimed at harassment” and that they “blatantly violate the nuclear agreement,” according to comments carried by the Iranian state-controlled press.

Larijani warned that this action will detonate the deal before it has even been implemented.

“If the Americans pursue the plan, they will destroy an achievement with their own hands since it is against the [nuclear deal] and it will trouble them,” he warned.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Conn.) echoed these concerns last week when he questioned Mull during a Senate hearing.

Visa waiver reform efforts include “a naming of Iran such that individuals who have travelled to Iran will no loner be eligible for the visa waiver program,” Murphy said. “There has been a suggestion because there is an element of the agreement that obligates us to not to take steps that would stop economic relations between other nations and Iran that we could perhaps be in jeopardy of breaching the agreement.”

So, Iran – designated by the State Department as the number-one supporter of terrorism in the world – wants us to continue to ignore its support for terrorism and grant any traveler a free pass when it comes to vetting for security. 

And Obama wonders why no one believes he takes the terrorism threat seriously?

I say, let the deal fall.  Why should we let a terrorist state dictate our anti-terrorism policies?  It's absurd on its face and utter madness.  Or Iran may be bluffing, in which case, let's call their bluff and tighten visa waiver restrictions.

Obama may be forced to veto any legislation that tightens visa waiver restrictions.  What do you think the American people will say when he claims that he was forced to veto the bill because it would have destroyed the unpopular Iranian nuke agreement?

Measures being considered by Congress to tighten the visa waiver program to keep terrorists out of the country would violate the nuclear deal with Iran, say both the administration and the Iranians.

Congress wants to increase restrictions on people who have traveled to countries that harbor terrorists – countries like Iran.  But the Iranians have been warning in recent days that any change to the visa waiver program would result in Iran walking away from the nuclear agreement. 

Washington Free Beacon:

Iranian officials have in recent days repeatedly issued threatening statements to the Obama administration, saying that such moves would violate the nuclear agreement, and the Obama administration last week conveyed the Iranian anger to American lawmakers.

Stephen Mull, the State Department official in charge of implementing the Iran deal, warned the Senate Foreign Relations Committee late last week that these congressional efforts “could have a very negative impact on the deal.”

Under the revised law, which came in the week of a deadly terrorist attack in California, individuals who have travelled to Iran—a lead sponsor of global terrorism—would no longer be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, which permits individuals from 38 partner nations to more easily enter the United States.

Congress remains concerned that gaps in the program could prevent federal law enforcement officials from detecting terror-tied individuals before they are granted entrance to U.S. soil.

However, a portion of the Iran nuclear deal mandates that the United States not take any action that could harm Iran’s economic relationships with other countries. Iranian officials maintain that the new restrictions violate this passage of the deal.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, said last week that these tightened measures “are aimed at harassment” and that they “blatantly violate the nuclear agreement,” according to comments carried by the Iranian state-controlled press.

Larijani warned that this action will detonate the deal before it has even been implemented.

“If the Americans pursue the plan, they will destroy an achievement with their own hands since it is against the [nuclear deal] and it will trouble them,” he warned.

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Conn.) echoed these concerns last week when he questioned Mull during a Senate hearing.

Visa waiver reform efforts include “a naming of Iran such that individuals who have travelled to Iran will no loner be eligible for the visa waiver program,” Murphy said. “There has been a suggestion because there is an element of the agreement that obligates us to not to take steps that would stop economic relations between other nations and Iran that we could perhaps be in jeopardy of breaching the agreement.”

So, Iran – designated by the State Department as the number-one supporter of terrorism in the world – wants us to continue to ignore its support for terrorism and grant any traveler a free pass when it comes to vetting for security. 

And Obama wonders why no one believes he takes the terrorism threat seriously?

I say, let the deal fall.  Why should we let a terrorist state dictate our anti-terrorism policies?  It's absurd on its face and utter madness.  Or Iran may be bluffing, in which case, let's call their bluff and tighten visa waiver restrictions.

Obama may be forced to veto any legislation that tightens visa waiver restrictions.  What do you think the American people will say when he claims that he was forced to veto the bill because it would have destroyed the unpopular Iranian nuke agreement?