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Arab States Angry Over Trump Travel Ban

Some call to expel US citizens

Nazanin Zinouri, a data scientist at Modjoul in South Carolina, was on her way back to the US after visiting her mother in Iran. She has been in the US on a student visa for the past seven years, recently finished her PhD at Clemson University, and has had no trouble coming in to the US after yearly visits to Iran. But this time was different.

Hearing news of the change in regulations for nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, she cut her trip short. After traveling from Iran to Dubai, she boarded the plane to Washington. Before the plane took off, two TSA agents came on and ordered her to get off the plane.

“No one warned me when I was leaving (the US),” Zinouri told The Media Line via Facebook. “No one cared what will happen to my dog or my job or my life there. No one told me what I should do with my car that is still parked at the airport parking. Or what to do with my house and all my belongings. They didn’t say it with words but with their actions — that my life doesn’t matter. Everything I worked for all these years doesn’t matter.”

It was not clear how her case would be affected by the emergency order issued by a federal judge that temporarily barred the US from deporting anyone with a valid visa from the affected countries once they had landed in the US.

President Trump’s ban on anyone from seven countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen – was roundly condemned in all of these countries. It also apparently applies to anyone from those countries who has a green card or permanent residence status. In the UK, it also affects more than 250,000 British citizens who have dual citizenship in one of these countries.

When he signed the order on Friday Trump said that his actions would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.”

“We don’t want them here,” Trump said as he signed the order.

The order sparked criticism throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

Iran, one of the countries whose citizens were banned, slammed Trump’s immigration order on Saturday as an “insult” and a “gift to extremists” and said it was considering its response.

Iran will take “proportionate legal, consular and political action and … will take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the government of the United States against Iranian nationals,” Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday.

In Iraq, influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said that American nationals should be forced to leave Iraq, in retaliation for the new travel restrictions imposed by the US Administration.

“It would be arrogance for you to freely enter Iraq and other countries while barring to them the entrance to your country…and therefore you should get your nationals out,” al-Sadr wrote on his website.

In the Executive Order, Trump said that it will help protect the US from terrorism.

“The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.”

Critics noted that most of the 19 hijackers from 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on the visa ban list. Supporters said all of the countries on the list have been state sponsors of terrorism.