Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he will not act on the parliament’s recommendation to respond to the US travel ban on Iraqi nationals.
“We will do nothing of the sort,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday. “We are studying the decision but we are in a battle and we don’t want to harm the national interest.”
Al-Abadi also said the decision to ban Iraqis from entering the United States was an “insult”.
His remarks came a day after Iraqi parliament voted to retaliate against the ban and urged the government to “respond in kind to the United States, establish channels of communication with the US Congress regarding the issue, and call on the US administration to review its decision.”
US President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order, banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The countries on the list include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Critics of the ban refer to it as “Muslim ban”, while Trump defended his order and denied that it targets a single religion.
“This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” he said on Sunday.
Abadi said his government has contacted the US officials who said they will review the decision as it applies to Iraqi nationals.