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World Leaders Condemn Trump Travel Ban as Targeted Nations Consider Retaliatory Measures

At least two of the nations directly affected by President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban are considering retaliatory measures.
Image: Protesters hold banners during a protest outside 10 Downing Street in London
Protesters demonstrate outside 10 Downing Street in London on Jan. 30, 2017.Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA
/ Source: Reuters

At least two of the nations targeted by President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban are already considering retaliatory measures against the United States, underscoring the global fallout over the executive action signed last Friday.

Iraqi lawmakers have urged a reciprocal ban on Americans in response to the Trump order that temporarily suspends admission of refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, and an eighth Muslim nation, Syria, indefinitely.

Iraqi lawmakers told the Associated Press early Monday morning that that the Iraq parliament approved a "reciprocity measure" that would apply to Americans entering Iraq.

The vote is not binding on the Iraqi government, but it still could strain relations between Baghdad and Washington amid the military operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The vote was described as "a recommendation," by deputy speaker of parliament, Sheik Humam Hamoudi, and called for the U.S. Congress to "pressure the American administration to reconsider that decision regarding Iraq."

The Foreign Ministry also spoke out against Trump's order, saying it "regrets such a decision" against a country that the U.S. considers "an ally and a strategic partner."

Image: Protesters hold banners during a protest outside 10 Downing Street in London
Protesters demonstrate outside 10 Downing Street in London on Jan. 30, 2017.Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Iran, another nation affected by the ban, said it was considering how to respond on Saturday. The foreign affairs ministry declared in a statement Saturday that the order is a "clear insult to the Islamic world, and especially the great nation of Iran," and that the nation would "take proportionate legal, consular and political action."

Iran will, the statement added, "take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the Government of the United States against Iranian nationals."

Foreign policy experts, meanwhile, have argued that Trump's action puts ongoing U.S. military operations to combat ISIS at risk.

"What we’re doing now has probably made us less safe today than we were Friday morning before this happened because we are now living the worst Jihadist narrative possible," former CIA director Michael Hayden told NPR Monday morning.

Critics and advocacy groups have interpreted Trump's immigration ban as a "Muslim ban," despite Trump's insistence that the order as written does not constitute a religious test. Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he would prioritize Christian refugees, while Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani has said Trump asked him “the right way to do [a Muslim ban] legally."

Trump's order was followed by a weekend of uncertainty from government officials, legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant and civil rights groups, chaos at airports and protests throughout the United States, as well as condemnation from Democratic lawmakers and a few Republicans.

But there has also been an outpouring of opposition from world leaders and the international community at large. Thousands gathered outside 10 Downing Street, the seat of the British government, Monday evening in protest against the order, while more than a million citizens signed a petition calling for a ban on Trump visiting the United Kingdom.

Related: Trump Voters Shrug Off Global Uproar Over Immigration Ban

The political leadership in countries like Indonesia, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, as well as the nations that comprise the Arab League, have all spoken out in condemnation of the order, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally lobbying Trump to reverse course.

“The chancellor regrets the US government’s entry ban against refugees and the citizens of certain countries,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement. “She is convinced that the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion."

"Terrorism knows no nationality. Discrimination is no response," added French Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in a statement. Even the British Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, whose unconventional political rise and uncouth public persona have been often compared to Trump's, tweeted: "Divisive and wrong to stigmatize because of nationality."

Meanwhile, a decision by the Iraqi government in favor of reciprocal measures against the United States could leave the 5,000 U.S. troops currently stationed there in an uncertain position.

"Our relations with the United States depends on mutual interests, ruled by the strategic agreement between the two countries," said Mohammed Tamim, a member of the parliament from Al-Arabia bloc. "I call the Iraqi government to take the same process towards Americans who plan to come to Iraq."

"The decision of president Trump was like a shock on me, on Iraqis and the whole world in general. It created anger among people all around the world," added Yunadem Kana, a Christian parliament member in Iraq. "But, there is a chance for Trump to review this decision and change his mind. We in the Iraqi parliament will talk to the American congress, as well as the Iraqi government is going to talk to the American department to cancel this decision, or exclude Iraq."

Related: Trump’s Immigration Ban: Meet Some of the Stranded Muslims

While the Trump administration continues to defend its decision, their neighbors to the north in Canada are seizing onto the backlash to show off their open arms policy towards refugees and immigrants.

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Jan. 28th: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."

Still, despite a federal court stay of Trump's order, immigrants from the seven nations listed under the travel ban continue to be detained, and in some cases re-routed back to their countries of origin.

More than 200 Somali refugees who had been heading to the U.S. for resettlement from a refugee camp in Kenya have been told they cannot travel, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The Kenyan camp, Dadaab, is scheduled to close in May. Those refugees hoping to go to the U.S., according the Associated Press, could instead be at risk of having to return to the war-torn country they fled.