Sep 21, 2019

U.S. revokes Iranian student visas as tensions increase

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Several Iranian students were barred from their flights to the United States, after their visas were abruptly rescinded earlier this month, just days before beginning graduate programs in the U.S. for engineering and computer science, reports the New York Times.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

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.