Friday, September 14, 2007

Iranian Religious Leaders Denied Visas

Jonathan Bell at Inter Press Service published an article today on the Iranian Religious leaders being denied visas. He points out that "what is particularly remarkable about the visa denials is that the administration has spoken out frequently in favor of 'people-to-people' exchanges as a means of encouraging change in Iran and other allegedly hostile nations."

Bell writes, "The State Department declined to comment on why the four members of the delegation were not approved for a visa, insisting that visa matters were confidential. Two of the four proscribed members of the Iranian delegation, however, reportedly were members of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] during the 1980s, although this could not be independently confirmed."

The visa denials are particularly disturbing because the organizers of the trip were assured by the State Department earlier this year that they would be able to obtain them. The delegation was to be a reciprocation of a 14-member delegation of US religious leaders that went to Iran in February.

1 comment:

Dana Garrett said...

This is a frequent tactic used by the US against its unofficially declared "enemies." It happened about 2 years to a group of Cuban academics who had been invited to attend an academic conference in the USA. It even happened once to Hugo Chavez a few years ago when he planned to attend a meeting at the UN. It has also happened to numerous Cuban officials over the years planning to attend UN meetings.

I suspect the purpose is more than just registering displeasure w/ the government in question. Two other purposes could be to decrease the exposure of US citizens to the US' undeclared "enemies" lest US citizens walk away from the event w/ a different perspective of the "enemies" that differs from the State Department's perspective and, in the case of the UN, to hamper the effectiveness of the enemies' advocacy in the UN.