Iranians and Iraqis planning to fly to the United States were prevented from boarding on Saturday after US President Donald Trump’s order to restrict arrivals from seven Muslim countries.
Iran slammed the “insulting” ban and said it would reciprocate.
On Friday, Trump signed a sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees and impose tough new controls on travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. His move sparked widespread international criticism.
Travellers from the Middle East were stopped from boarding US-bound planes.Some who were already in the air when Trump signed the executive order were detained on arrival, the New York Times reported.
In The Netherlands, the Dutch flag carrier KLM said it had stopped seven passengers from boarding its flights, five of whom it had been able to contact before departure. The identities of the seven, their countries of origin and destinations were not given.
“We would have liked to have had them fly with us, but it would not have made much sense because they would have been denied entry” to the United States, KLM spokesman Manel Vrijenhoek told AFP.
In Tehran, two travel agencies told AFP they had been instructed by Etihad Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines not to sell US tickets or allow Iranians holding American visas to board US-bound flights.
An Iranian studying in California said she could not now return because her ticket had been cancelled under the new restrictions.
“I had a ticket for Turkish Airlines on February 4, but it has been cancelled,” the girl, who did not wish to be identified, told AFP in Tehran.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not comment directly on the ban today, but criticised Trump, saying that now was “not the time to build walls between nations”.
Iran’s foreign ministry said it would “respond in kind after the insulting decision of the United States concerning Iranian nationals” until the measure is lifted.
It said the decision was “illegal, illogical and contrary to international rules”.
More than a million Iranians live in the United States.
In Khartoum, the Sudanese foreign ministry expressed its “regret” at the US ban.
Today in Egypt, a country not included in the new restrictions, an Iraqi couple and their two children were told they could not board an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York.
Airport officials said the four Iraqis all had American visas.
The New York Times reported that two Iraqi refugees were detained on arriving at New York’s John F Kennedy airport hours after Trump signed the order.