Around three dozen prominent US technology and business executives, representing heavyweight firms such as Twitter, Dropbox and Pixar, are asking US Congress to repeal new visa rules that they argue discriminate against people based on their ethnic and ancestral heritage, Politico reported.
The high-profile appeal came as the Obama administration put into effect an especially controversial part of the new rules covering people with dual nationality — but refused to disclose details of how it was interpreting that provision of the law.
The law in question was passed in December and made changes to the Visa Waiver Program. The new law bars foreigners who hold dual citizenship in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan from traveling to the United States visa-free.
“In effect, certain provisions of the new law require visas for Europeans and other citizens with Iranian, Sudanese, Syrian, or Iraqi heritage,” the business leaders write in the letter to House and Senate leaders. “We protest this just as vigorously as if Congress had mandated special travel papers for citizens based on their faith or the color of their skin. In the balancing act between fighting terrorism and upholding American liberties, these provisions go too far.”
Efforts underway for Tehran-Riyadh meeting on Hajj
Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization said diplomatic efforts are underway to hold a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s minister of pilgrimage affairs to work out how Iranians would make Hajj pilgrimage this year after Riyadh severed ties with Tehran.
Speaking to Tasnim News Agency on Wednesday, Saeed Ohadi said the country’s Foreign Ministry has undertaken to contact the Saudi Hajj authorities for arranging a meeting between Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization and Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage Affairs for negotiations about the Iranians’ possible religious visit to the kingdom for this year’s Hajj season.
He stressed that a main topic to be discussed in the possible meeting will be guarantees that Iranians will perform the religious rites in full security.