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US, Allies Force New Travel Ban on Iran

Service : Politic
TEHRAN, July 9 (ICANA) – The US, Britain and Canada have imposed travel bans against a number of Iranian government officials over alleged violations of human rights or connections to Tehran's nuclear program.
Saturday, July 09, 2011 6:48:39 PM
US, Allies Force New Travel Ban on Iran

The new measures include some 52 "government ministers, military and law enforcement officers, and judiciary and prison officials" barred from entering the US, Britain and Canada. The names of the Iranian individual have not been made public.

"Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will coordinate to prevent Iranian human rights offenders or individuals connected with the nuclear program from entering our countries," AFP quoted Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird as saying on Friday.

"The UK is working closely with its partners to prevent a wide range of individuals connected with Iran's nuclear enrichment and weaponization programs from entering our countries. These include scientists, engineers and those procuring components," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said, neglecting that Iran has repeatedly said it has no “weaponization” program.

The US and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran says that as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has a right to use the peaceful applications of nuclear energy for electricity generation and medical research.

"Today's actions are an important reminder to Iran that the international community will continue to hold accountable those officials who commit human rights abuses and suppress the democratic aspirations of fellow citizens," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

On April 14, the European Union imposed travel bans and other sanctions against 32 Iranian police commanders, judges and prison officials over alleged violations of human rights.

In February, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Commander of Iran's Volunteer Basij Force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi and Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi over allegations of human rights abuse during the 2009 post-election sedition in Iran.

At the time analysts described the move as a shift of policy in the West, saying that the US and its allies are alleging human rights violations in Iran after failing to bring its peaceful nuclear program to a halt.

In May, Iran took a stance regarding human rights violations in the West, and imposed sanctions against 26 US officials who have a history of rights violation.

The officials on the list included commander of US forces in Iraq Raymond Odierno, USS Vincennes Captain Will Rogers III, former FBI chief Thomas J. Pickard, and the former commander of the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Geoffrey D. Miller.

Current Guantanamo commander Rear Admiral Jeffery Harbeson, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and another US military official were also blacklisted.

Pickard is charged with human rights violations over his involvement in the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993, and the death of over 80 followers of the cult.

He is also accused of human rights violations during his tenure as the CIA station chief in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.

Miller, who commanded the US prison at Guantanamo Bay between 2002 and 2007, is charged with torture of inmates, while Harbeson is charged in connection with human rights violations at the detention center since 2010.

Rogers will have sanctions imposed on him over the killing of 290 Iranian civilians on board Iran Air Flight 655, which was shot down by the USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988.

Rumsfeld, who was US secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 and from 2001 to 2006, is also on the list for the killing of thousands of civilians in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also charged in connection with human rights violations and torture at two notorious prisons, Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan.

Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004, and General Tommy Franks, who led the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, are also on the list of US officials that the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has imposed sanctions on.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International censured the US for its indefinite detentions of suspects in Afghanistan and at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In October 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a report in which it expressed serious concern about human rights violations in the United States.

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