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Arab World Protests President Trump’s Immigration Curbs

The Arab League, whose members include many of the countries included in the immigration ban that President Trump announced this weekend, as well as US allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, expressed deep concern over the Executive Order which bans travelers from Syria and six other Muslim majority countries for 90 days. A statement from the Arab League said the restrictions were unjustified. The government of Iraq, which is allied with the US in the battle against Islamic State and which hosts over 5000 troops, did not comment on the new travel and immigration restrictions. But some members of the Iraqi parliament said Baghdad should retaliate with similar measures against US citizens. In Baghdad, Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said US citizens should leave Iraq. The Tehran government vowed to respond in kind to the U.S. ban on visitors from Iran, but on Sunday Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that Americans who already hold Iranian visas can enter the country. President Trump spoke by telephone on Sunday with the leaders of two Gulf states—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, neither of which is on the list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the US. According to the White House, Trump’s conversation with Saudi King Salman focused on the situation in Syria and Yemen. They agreed to work together toward creating “safe zones” for refugees in Syria and Yemen. They also discussed the importance of “addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.” As reported in the Ha’aretz newspaper, Trump’s new senior Middle East director is a strong critic of Iran. He has called for strengthening the US-Saudi relationship to combat Iran’s activities in the region.