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April 25, 2015 1:30 pm

Iranian Lawmakers Seek to Ban All Israeli-Born Visitors

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Tehran skyline. Photo: Hamed Saber. Iranian lawmakers are calling for a ban on all Israeli-born visitors after a reporter from Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper visited the Islamic Republic earlier this month using her American passport.

While anyone with an Israeli passport is banned from entering Iran, reporter Orly Azouly, who serves as the Israeli newspaper’s correspondent in Washington, DC, obtained a visa from the Iranian Foreign Ministry and traveled to Iran as part of a delegation organized by the New York Times.

Azouly wrote several reports on her visit to Tehran, including on a synagogue in Isfahan and the Tomb of Queen Esther in Hamedan. Her trip sparked outrage in Iran, with a special parliamentary commission launched to investigate her visit and many accusing Azoulay of espionage.

While the investigation determined that Azoulay was not a spy, Mohammad Saleh Jokar, an Iranian lawmaker who was on the parliamentary commission, said that “we are asking for a ban on Israeli-born people from entering Iran in order to prevent such cases.”

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, a spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Hossein Nooshabadi, said Azoulay “entered Iran on an American passport, she didn’t have a press card, and came in as a tourist, an American resident with an American group—the Foreign Ministry and intelligence services must therefore provide an answer.”

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