Photo: Kayana Szymczak / Stringer/Getty Images

Several Iranian students were barred from their flights to the United States, after their visas were abruptly rescinded earlier this month, just days before beginning graduate programs in the U.S. for engineering and computer science, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: The 12 or so visa cancellations come as tensions continue to mount between Iran and the U.S. However, this occurred before the recent oil facility attacks in Saudi Arabia, which Iran has been held responsible for, per the Times.

  • The State Department claims there have been no sudden policy shifts to student visas. However, the federal government can make such cancellations at any time thanks to a 2012 law enacted by President Obama that requires the U.S. to deny student visas specifically for Iranians who could use their educations to work in the Iranian energy or nuclear sectors.

The big picture: Trump's travel ban has made it so most Iranians can't even travel to the U.S., according to the Times.

  • Chinese students have also experienced visa-related issues, as President Trump's trade war continues to strain international relations, writes the Times.
    • 9 Chinese undergraduate students were detained en route to Arizona State University at the Los Angeles Airport last month, before being sent back to China without explanation, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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