New U.S. Visa Restrictions on Iranian Officials for Human Rights Abuses

Media Note
Washington, DC
July 8, 2011

Today, the United States and the United Kingdom imposed visa restrictions on, and Canada announced support for increased measures against, officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals who have participated in the commission of human rights abuses related to political repression in Iran. More than 50 Iranian officials would be subject to these new U.S. visa restrictions, including government ministers, military and law enforcement officers, and judiciary and prison officials. The restrictions cover those who have played a role in the ongoing repression of students, human rights defenders, lawyers, artists, civil society representatives, women’s rights leaders, and religious and ethnic minorities.

Secretary Clinton took this action pursuant to the authorities granted her under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which renders an alien inadmissible to the United States of America if the Secretary of State has a reasonable ground to believe the alien’s entry or proposed activities in the United States would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States. The Secretary has determined that such a reasonable ground to believe exists in the cases of these individuals, such that a legal basis would exist for visa refusal if any of these individuals were to apply. The Secretary of State has invoked this authority in the past, including against officials from Libya, Belarus, and Cote d’Ivoire for human rights-related abuses. Under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. State Department already has been denying and revoking visas of individuals involved in proliferation and terrorism.

Under the INA, visa records are confidential, including the names of those subject to specific visa bans. So we cannot discuss specific cases.

Any U.S. visas currently held by persons subject to this policy will be revoked and new visa applications will be refused.

Today’s joint action serves as a reminder to the Iranian government that we will continue to hold its officials accountable for human rights abuses against the Iranian people.

PRN: 2011/1141