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Iran: Israel Behind Changes in US Visa-Free Travel Policy

A new measure passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Obama on Friday prohibits visa-free travel to the US for those who have visited Iraq, Syria or Sudan in the last five years or hold dual nationality in the countries. According to the foreign ministry of Iran, the law was requested by Israel to undermine the JCPOA.

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The move was introduced, in part, as a response to the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which 130 ordinary Friday night revelers killed. The terrorist act was linked to Daesh, and some of the attackers had European passports or had traveled to Daesh territory in Syria.

Iran on Monday accused Israel and its supporters of lobbying for the measure, saying it was meant to undermine a nuclear deal (JCPOA or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) that was reached by Tehran and six world powers this summer.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari, in a televised news conference, voiced Iran’s allegations that a ‘Zionist lobby’ is behind the controversial law.

"No Iranian nor anybody who visited Iran had anything to do with the tragedies that have taken place in Paris or in San Bernardino or anywhere else," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday in an interview on the Middle East-focused website Al Monitor. He called the US decision to include Iran in the list “absurd.”

Iranian officials warned that the measure could be perceived as a new anti-Iran sanction imposed by the US. The move is claimed to create distrust between the countries and jeopardize bilateral relations.

"It could have irreversible effects on the implementation of mutual commitments under the JCPOA," said the secretary of Iran's National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, as quoted by state news agency IRNA.

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Included in the primary conditions, on which Iran agreed to dial back its nuclear program, was the lifting of travel and economic sanctions against citizens of the country.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday assured Zarif in a letter that Washington remained committed to the JCPOA and that the law will not “create any obstacle to Iran’s economic interests.”

The measure allows visa-free travel to the United States for citizens of 38 countries, primarily in Europe.

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