A BBC journalist has been stopped from travelling to the US with her family because of her dual Iranian-British nationality.
Rana Rahimpour, a presenter for the BBC’s Persian service, was halted from boarding a flight to New Jersey at Heathrow airport yesterday.
She was told she could not travel to the US because of the new visa waiver rules that prevents those with dual nationalities of certain countries from entering the US on its 90-day visa-free program.
The new law known as HR 158 is unfairly branding journalists, humanitarian aid workers, business executives, refugees and Iranian nationals as terrorist risks.
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) January 19, 2016
RT reports: The new rules mean anyone who has traveled to a “terrorist haven” in the past five years can no longer enter the US on the tourism visa.
The restrictions apply to Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Iraq. People from 38 countries, including 23 EU countries, who were previously able to visit the US without a visa, are now unable to do so if they have visited the blacklisted nations.
Rahimpour was trying to visit her brother in the US who she had not seen in over a year, but was stopped at Heathrow airport in London.
She had not been able to travel to Iran for years because of her work for the BBC and was surprised to learn she would not be allowed to board the flight at the airport, rather than in advance.
“To be treated differently from other British citizens because of my Iranian heritage is very distressing,” she said.
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) January 20, 2016
The new travel restrictions were passed into law by Congress in December, as a reaction to the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
The new law, HR158, led the US ambassadors of 28 EU states to write a letter in The Hill in December, warning this could lead to retaliations.
“Such indiscriminate action against the more than 13 million European citizens who travel to the US each year would be counterproductive, could trigger legally-mandated reciprocal measures, and would do nothing to increase security while instead hurting economies on both sides of the Atlantic,” they said.