THE HAGUE: Six Iranians travelling to the US have spent three nights stuck in transit at Amsterdam airport, angry and humiliated by the sudden decision to deny them entry.
“This is a very confusing and contradictory state to be in,” Pedram, a 33-year-old doctor, said on Tuesday, speaking by phone from the transit lounge at Schiphol airport.
He and the five others — a PhD student, and two married couples heading to visit their children and grandchildren in the United States — have been left stunned by President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking entry to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
The group was transiting through Schiphol — one of Europe’s busiest travel hubs — on a KLM flight from Tehran to catch connecting
flights to different cities in the United States.
“When we set off from Tehran nothing was said about Trump’s new rules. They gave me a boarding pass and everything was OK,” said another of the group, a 29-year
PhD student, who asked to remain anonymous.
But when he landed at Schiphol airport on Saturday he had to go through another security check and was pulled to one side.
An officer from the US immigration services “told me that I no longer had the allowance to go into the country,” he said, adding he was embarrassed by the whole ordeal.
He was travelling to Minnesota — on his first visit to the US — to begin a six-month collaboration at the university researching water treatment systems, on a valid non-immigrant J1 visa.
He spent an estimated $2,000 to get his visa, which took him several months and trips to Dubai and Armenia to secure. His return flight home was booked for October.
IRAQI FAMILY’S PLANS GO AWRY
ARBIL: If they had known what would happen, Fuad Sharif and his wife would have waited before quitting their jobs, selling their belongings and leaving Iraq with their children for the US. “After two years of waiting… they confirmed that I do not represent any danger to the United States and the American people,” Sharif, 51, said.
“On this basis, they gave me an immigration visa,” said Sharif, who worked with RTI International, a US-based non-profit organisation contracted by the American government to work on issues including local governance in Iraq.
Sharif said he was hoping for a “new life” in the US, but now he and his family are back in Iraq. — AFP