One of the most vocal, and angry, reactions to Trump’s anti-immigration executive order came from Iran whose foreign ministry, as noted previously, vowed to take reciprocal measures, as the Iranian government called the ban “an insult to the Muslim world.” Tehran did not waste any time, and shortly after Iran said it would ban U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington’s visa ban against the nation.
“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 cited by Reuters. “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.
Trump’s temporary ban would make it virtually impossible for family members 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.
“Today is not the time to erect walls between nations. They have forgotten that the Berlin wall fell years ago,” Rouhani said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television. “To annul world trade accords does not help their economy and does not serve the development and blooming of the world economy,” Rouhani told a tourism conference in Tehran. “This is the day for the world to get closer through trade.”
Rouhani, a pragmatist elected in 2013, thawed Iran’s relations with world powers after years of confrontation and engineered its 2015 deal with them under which it curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions.
That may soon change. Trump’s order “certainly doesn’t do anything to convince Iranians that the Trump administration has any interest in reducing tensions with Iran,” said Trita Parsi, author of the forthcoming book “Losing an Enemy – Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy,” and president of the National Iranian American Council. With Iran holding a presidential election in May, any spike in tensions between the foes could swing support behind hardline critics of President Hassan Rouhani. According to Parsi, hardliners will point to Iran’s compromise as part of the nuclear accord and “say ‘look what it generated: this extremely negative response against Iranian people’.”