by WorldTribune Staff, August 23, 2016
The State Department has warned Americans against traveling to Iran, citing “the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans.”
The travel warning, issued on Aug. 22, emphasizes that “the U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited.”
The State Department issued the warning amid growing criticism over the Obama administration’s $400 million cash payment sent to Iran on the same day several American hostages were released.
A number of lawmakers and former officials say the payment amounted to a ransom and would only embolden Iran to seek out more Americans to detain.
“U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel,” the State Department said. “U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.”
Iran continues to imprison Americans, particularly those holding dual Iranian citizenship, according to the State Department.
“Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin,” the travel warning states. “Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution.”
The State Department also warned U.S. commercial airlines who are considering operating in Iran. The warning comes as American companies such as Boeing continue to pursue deals with a government that is flush with cash after sanctions relief.
“The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” the warning states. “The FAA has advised U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the airspace over Iran.”