Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on June 30 that the new U.S. ban on travelers from six Muslim countries shows "blind hostility" toward Iranians.
"U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians," Zarif tweeted.
The temporary ban, which went into effect on June 29, bars people from Iran and five other predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States unless they have "bone fide" ties with a U.S. organization or a close relative who is American.
Iran also restricts travel for many human rights and civic activists and those critical of the hardline policies of the regime. Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami is banned from traveling abroad, as well as from appearing on mass media.
Iranian restrictions not only apply to travel from Iran but also to some expats returning home to see family members. Many have been arrested upon their return to Iran.
The U.S. State Department said "close" relatives include parents and siblings, but excludes grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others.
With more than one million people of Iranian origin living in the United States, the legal battle over the exclusion of some relatives but not others for the purpose of qualifying visa applicants is expected to pick up in coming weeks.
The 90-day ban affects visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. U.S. President Donald Trump argues it is needed to block terrorists from entering the country.
But many Iranian-Americans are posting tweets under the hashtag #GrandparentsNotTerrorists to voice their opposition.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa