The U.S. State Department has issued an updated travel warning for Iran, signaling a fresh deterioration in the relationship between the two countries despite the recently concluded nuclear agreement. The warning is explicit and chilling:
Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities have also prevented the departure, in some cases for months, of a number of Iranian-American citizens who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.
This development is reigniting the controversy over the recent payment of USD 400 million by the US government to Iran and its linkage to the recent release of American prisoners. Despite the lifting of economic sanctions,the prudent business traveler should avoid the country completely.