Bipartisan bill targets US visas for children of Iranian officials
Through the denial of their entry into the country, the legislation seeks to put pressure on Iranian officials' children.
A new plan from US senators would target not just the Iranian officials, but also their children, Al-Monitor has discovered.
The Revoking Entry Granted to Iranian Mullahs and Elites Act of 2022, or REGIME Act, is a piece of legislation sponsored by Representatives Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas).
The legislation would instruct the US secretary of state to assess whether a large group of Iranian officials, including those in the supreme leader's office, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and law enforcement, as well as their immediate families, now hold US visas or have requested for them.
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According to Al-Monitor, the legislative text specifies that any visas issued to persons who satisfy the requirements of Section 7031(c) of the annual State Department appropriations act shall be withdrawn.
“In light of the actions of the regime it is particularly unbelievable that Iranian officials and family members are being given visas to come to the US to enjoy the very liberties their own citizens can only imagine,” Wilson told Al-Monitor.
“The REGIME Act, which I introduced along with my bipartisan colleagues, will make sure those visas — which never should have been issued — are revoked,” he said.
The legislation's opponents may argue that it is unfair to punish children for the "transgressions of their parents."
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It's also not apparent how many Iranian officials and their descendants are even attempting to enter the US to visit, work, or study, but Wilson's office claims that arriving to that figure is one of the law's objectives.
It is worth noting that Washington has previously taken steps to limit Iranian officials' access to visas. Al-Monitor received confirmation from a State Department spokesperson that the 2019 proclamation prohibiting entrance for senior Iranian government officials and their families is still in place.
“Each visa application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and because visa records are subject to visa confidentiality under US law, no further details may be disclosed,” the spokesperson said, adding that exceptions can be made for those whose entry would be in the interest of the United States, such as fulfilling obligations under international agreements.
It is noteworthy that in early December, the Iranian media outlet Tabnak published a report exposing images of a huge stockpile of confiscated weapons - on their way to Iran - seized by the Iraqi authorities in Sulaymaniyah, east of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, in what was described as the largest weapon smuggling operation thwarted so far.
In early November, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed that the Iranian opposition is arming itself with weapons stolen smuggled from Iraqi Kurdistan. Iranian authorities have repeatedly revealed that the US and Western intelligence services are sponsoring and actively supporting the riots taking place in the country, aiming to destabilize it and pave the way for regime change.