WASHINGTON: A former Norwegian prime minister was held and questioned by US border control staff when he flew into Washington Dulles Airport on Tuesday afternoon (Jan 31), Norwegian media reported.
Kjell Magne Bondevik, who was prime minister of Norway from 1997 to 2000 and from 2001 to 2005, told Norwegian broadcaster TV 2 that he was held and questioned for "about an hour" because of a stamp from Iran in his passport.
“It took about an hour. They started asking me why I had been in Iran and why I was coming to the United States," Bondevik said. "There should be no reason to fear a former prime minister who has been on official visits to the country several times before."
Bondevik had flown in to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, and said that the Iranian stamp in his diplomatic passport had never given him trouble entering the US before President Donald Trump's executive order, which temporarily suspended entry for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - for 90 days.
“It appears that when the name of a certain country shows up, all of the antennas go up. This will create totally unnecessary suspicion. I think it was quite provocative,” Norway's The Local reported Bondevik as saying.
“I understand the fear of terror, but one should not treat entire ethnic groups in such a way. I must admit that I fear the future. There has been a lot of progress over the last ten years, but this gives great cause for concern, in line with the authoritarian leaders we see controlling other major countries,” he added.
On Friday, a US district judge in Detroit issued an order temporarily preventing the Trump administration from carrying out immigration restrictions in his executive order.