The refusal of the United States to allow the entry of the Iranian singer Alireza Ghorbani was probably due to the fact that he had been part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been listed by the United States since 2019 as a “foreign terrorist organization,” a designation otherwise reserved for non-state bodies. Ghorbani, a Canadian resident, was traveling Friday to perform at a concert marking Noruz (Nowruz), the Iranian New Year, at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, California on Saturday when he was questioned by officers in a Toronto airport and was refused entry to the United States.
“He took his flight, sat down in his seat and a few [US immigration] officers got on the flight and got him out,” Alireza Ardekani, executive director of the Los Angeles-area nonprofit Farhang (culture) Foundation, co-host of the show, told the Los Angeles Times. event.
“They questioned him for almost four hours and finally told him that his visa was going to be canceled and he could no longer travel to the United States,” Ardekani said on Tuesday, adding that he learned that the refusal to travel from Ghorbani probably stemmed from his 49-year service decades earlier in the IRGC.
The Iranian-Canadian Congress (ICC) in a statement on Twitter said he was concerned about the detention and interrogation of Ghorbani and had repeatedly brought the issue of the US denial of entry to Iranian-Canadians recruited by the IRGC to the attention of Canadian government officials .
“We continue our efforts to end discriminatory behavior towards our community,” the statement said. Although Canadian permanent residents may need a nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States, the The US State Department states that “Members of a designated FTO, if alien, are inadmissible and, under certain circumstances, deportable from the United States.”
The IRGC is part of Iran’s armed forces, which also includes the “regular” army and law enforcement, all under the overall command of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The three branches each include young men performing compulsory military service of 21 months
About a quarter of the IRGC’s 190,000 personnel are conscripts and Ghorbani, who like many other young men did his military service after graduating from high school, was likely assigned to the IRGC when he was recruited three decades ago.
Masih Fouladi, deputy director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Los Angeles Times that the case illustrated a broader concern for Iranians in North America.
“They may have served 20, 25 or 30 years ago, and a lot of them may have served in office roles, nothing that has nothing to do with combat,” he said. -he declares. “And now they face hurdles to get residency… I think [the designation] was intended to marginalize the Iranian government, but the truth has really impacted Americans here who identify as Iranian.
Ghorbani has performed in many countries, including with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra in 2019. Among international awards, he won the Global Music Awards Silver Medal in 2020 for Outstanding Achievement. Singer Sina Sarlak replaced Ghorbani Saurday, performing “Ey Iran!”