Recently devised visa restrictions in the US, which affect dual national Iranians and people who have visited Iran, can reduce the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) from tourism industry by 3 to 15 percent, an Iranian economist said.
According to a bill, which was passed in the US House by 407 to 19 on December 8, visitors from the 38 “visa waiver” countries will need to obtain a visa to travel to the US if they have been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.
It means citizens of many EU countries and the rest of the 38 states participating in the program who travel to Iran either for business or visiting the country’s attractions will have to obtain a visa should they ever want to enter the US.
Seyed Mohsen Tabatabaei, the secretary of Iran’s Urban Economics Scientific Association (IUESA), noted that US President Barack Obama signed the bill after a lasting nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers and said that it will affect Iran’s tourism industry seriously.
“Undoubtedly, the US congress has targeted Iran’s tourism industry, causing European tourists who were interested in visiting Iran to feel uncertain to travel to the Islamic Republic,” Tabatabaei said.
This will reduce the country’s GDP and prevent the rapid growth of its tourism economy, he added.
On December 18, US lawmakers sent Obama a huge tax and spending package, which also included reforms of the US visa waiver program. The president quickly signed it into law before leaving Washington for his annual holiday vacation.
Obama approved the visa restrictions while the nuclear deal that Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) finalized on July 14, 2015 was meant to remove anti-Iran restrictions.