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Iran council approves US visitor fingerprinting legislation

[JURIST] A spokesman for Iran's Guardian Council [official website, in Persian] said Saturday that it has approved a bill passed by Iran's Majlis [official website, in Persian] two weeks ago instituting mandatory fingerprinting [JURIST report] of all visiting US citizens. The bill is intended to "reciprocate behavior of American officials towards Iranian citizens," he told reporters. The US-VISIT program [official backgrounder], in place since 2002, requires the fingerprinting and photographing of all foreign visitors arriving in the US, with the exception of Canadians.

The fingerprinting legislation passed the Majlis 135 to 26 on November 19 despite objections from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [official profile; BBC profile], who spoke out against the bill [JURIST report] in October, emphasizing that US citizens are welcome in Iran as Iran only opposes US policy, not its people. The Guardian Council represents the will of the country's Supreme Leader and has the power to veto legislative actions on the grounds that it is unconstitutional or against Islam. AP has more. From Iran, IRNA has local coverage.

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