Why was Xavi Hernandez unable to enter the United States?

BarcelonaBarça’s tour of the United States has begun without the coach. Xavi Hernandez has not been able to fly to Miami because the US authorities have not granted him permission to enter the ESTA. Although the club’s workers believed that in principle none of the members of the Barça expedition would have problems entering, in Xavi’s case they have encountered this last-minute surprise. The reason? Xavi visited the Islamic Republic of Iran three times to play Asian Champions League matches when he was a footballer for Qatar’s Al-Sadd.

People who have visited this state need a special permit if they want to use the same passport later in the United States, as these are two opposing states. As the arrangements to have the permit cannot be done on a weekend, Xavi will not be able to fly to Miami until next Monday. Xavi played his last game as an active player, before becoming a coach, precisely in Tehran, the capital of Iran. Barça explain that they initially thought they would get the entry permit, but they have been told that they want more documentation to guarantee this. In fact, Barça’s tour coincides with the first trip of US President Joe Biden to the Middle East, where he has discussed issues such as possible nuclear weapons in Iran with the Israeli authorities.

The relationship between the United States and Iran has been complicated since 1978, when a revolution brought down the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Islamists, led by Ayatollah Ruholah Khomeini, seized power in the state by enforcing Islamic law and severing ties with Western governments that had supported the Shah. In fact, when the United States refused to extradite the Shah, whom he had given refuge to, in 1979 a group of Ayatollah’s supporters stormed the U.S. embassy, ​​where they took sixty hostages. three American citizens. Some of the hostages were detained for more than 400 days in an incident that further strained relations between the two governments, also clashing over issues such as Iran’s willingness to have nuclear weapons or Israel’s recognition. This complicates travel for citizens visiting both states.



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