Community Politics

U.S. – Iran nuclear deal: No relief for Iranian-Americans

Iranian-Americans were holding thumbs that since U.S. President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran was passed, we would see a change in diplomatic relations, making life much easier for those in the U.S. and also Iranians back home.

It has been just over a year since Congress passed the deal, and by the looks of things not much has changed. Washington’s unilateral embargo on Iran has remained much the same with routine money transfers becoming risky.

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Then there are other issues which have not made life any easier for Iranians, for instance, Republican Donald Trump’s intentions on banning the entry of Muslims into the United States. Tina Monshipour Foster is a lawyer in New York City who serves Iranian clients and had this to say regarding the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States: “The nuclear deal with Iran has benefited Europeans and loosened up sanctions there,” but added that there had not been any relief for Iranian- Americans.” She stated that U.S. officials don’t always understand the embargo law completely and could have given more thought to their hasty prosecutions.

Many Iranian-Americans have suffered discrimination since the passing of the Iran deal. Washington’s trade embargo prevents any U.S. citizen from supplying goods, services or technology of any kind to Iran or its government. Although family remittances are exempt in this case, bank transfers between the U.S. and Iran have also been a problem.

Struggling to transfer money from back home has made life difficult for students in the U.S. who need to pay their tuition costs to continue with their studies. Furthermore, Iranian-Americans have had a tough time getting their financial affairs in order after having difficulties in receiving their inheritance and settling the estates of family members who have passed away in Iran.

There were hopes for Iran to enter global banking as prominent European banks were expected to start transacting with their Iranian counterparts. European banks could have served as intermediaries for money transfers between relatives living in the U.S. and Iran, but this did not happen.

It seems these banks were concerned over being targeted by U.S. regulators who fined one of the top banks in France a staggering nine billion dollars as a result of banned transactions which involved Iran, Sudan, and Cuba.

Finances have not been the only issue facing the Iranian-American community who have strong ties with their relatives, traveling and connecting with one another regularly. Visa rules have tightened this year with additional restrictions being imposed on dual citizens.

Hadi Ghaemi, an Iranian-American who runs the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated that the latest visa rules have made it even harder for many students, businessmen, as well as other Europeans who have Middle Eastern connections to visit the U.S. easily.