Press TV – Iran has denounced “unconstitutional and inhuman” treatment of travelers of Iranian descent by US border guards, saying the American government holds responsibility for the harassment.
The reaction by Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Saturday came after Canadian news agency CBC revealed that US border officers had been instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travelers.
The revelation follows reports that up to 200 people of Iranian descent travelling from Canada were detained and questioned for hours at multiple Canada-US border crossings during the weekend of Jan. 4 after the US assassinated a top Iranian military commander.
“Such highly discriminatory practices against people, purely because of their race, nationality, or religion, are wholly rejected in terms of international human rights laws and practices, and the US government is responsible for them,” Mousavi said.
“Given that these people have been questioned by US border guards and security forces about their political views and faiths and their internet accounts broken into, this is a case of inquisition and gross human rights violation.”
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated their passports and held some of them waiting for as long as 10 hours, refusing to grant them entry to the US.
The Iranians were repeatedly asked about their birthplaces, family members, schooling, and work histories and whether they accepted of the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.
CBP had denied it was detaining Iranians and blocking them from entering the country based on their heritage, but US border officers have told CBC News that they in fact were instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travelers.
Mousavi said, “These actions against Iranians are in line with the US regime’s hostile and spiteful policy towards Iran and Iran’s identity and existence.”
“At one time,” he said, the actions “appear in the form of a decision to ban Iranians from entering the United States. At another, they emerge in the threat to attack Iranian cultural and civilization centers.”
Following the US assassination of Gen. Soleimani, President Donald Trump said the US had identified 52 Iranian sites, some “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture”, and warned they would be “HIT VERY FAST AND HARD” if Tehran struck at the US.
Mousavi said the “cowardly assassination of the mythological hero in the fight against terrorism” was in line with the same hostility and spite which the United States bears against the Iranians.
More recently, this hostility “has appeared in the form of the harassment of Iranians at American borders”, he added.