World News

Iran to fingerprint Westerners in tit-for-tat move

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will start fingerprinting visitors from the United States, Britain and France, police said on Monday, listing three Western powers that are pressuring Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme.

The move is a tit-for-tat measure for the United States and Britain, as Iranians travelling to those two countries face having their fingerprints taken, the official IRNA news agency quoted a senior police official as saying.

“This measure for American and British nationals is to serve as a reciprocation,” said Gholamreza Rezaeiyan, head of the police immigration office.

“As for French nationals, it is done for the purpose of issuing them airport visas,” he said, without giving details.

The United States has been collecting digital fingerprints and photographs of nearly all non-citizens from age 14 entering the country since 2004, part of a heightened security drive to identify terrorism suspects and combat fraud.

Applicants for British visas in Iran and other countries have their fingerprints recorded electronically.

The IRNA report made no mention of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, which Western powers suspect is aimed at making bombs. Tehran denies the charge.