DESPICABLE: Obama Admin to Waive Counter-Terror Measures to Aid Iran
The Obama administration has announced that it will not enforce new counter-terrorism measures passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress because they could harm Iranian business interests, according to new instructions issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
The administration’s decision to waive portions of a new counter-terrorism law aimed at preventing terrorism-linked individuals from traveling to the United States comes on the heels of a lobbying effort by pro-Iran organizations and other Arab advocacy groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.
Congress last year tightened restrictions on the Visa Waiver Program, which facilitates travel between the United States and 38 other partner countries, to ensure that individuals from Iran and other countries with a terrorist footprint do not enter the United States without first obtaining a visa.
Top Iranian officials objected to the new counter-terror measures, saying that they would harm Iranian business interests and could force the Islamic Republic to walk away from the recently implemented nuclear agreement.
Secretary of State John Kerry wrote to Iranian leaders in December to assure them the Obama administration would waive the regulations, a move that was enforced by DHS earlier this week.
“The administration has the authority to waive” the counter-terrori
“Such waivers will be granted only on a case-by-case basis in the near future,” DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced this week. “Categories of travelers who may be eligible for a waiver include individuals who traveled to these countries on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-national governments on official duty; on behalf of humanitarian non-governmental organizations on official duty; or as a journalist for reporting purposes.”
Additionally, “individuals who traveled to Iran (only after July 14, 2015) or Iraq for legitimate business-related purposes may be eligible for a waiver,” according to DHS.
Lawmakers and experts familiar with Iran’s efforts to use military-controlled companies as a front to promote terrorism warned that the move could enable terrorism-tied individuals to enter the United States.
“The Obama administration seems oblivious to the fact that the Iranian regime systematically relies on Iranian dual nationals to facilitate terrorism, illicit financial activities, dual-use procurement, and industrial espionage,” said Emanuele Ottolenghi, an Iran expert at
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