Iraq's former ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, said on Friday (February 3) that President Donald Trump's order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, was "unfair" and could backfire.
"Being an ordinary Iraqi citizen now, in my opinion, the decision is unfair and it is a wrong message addressed by the new US administration which will make it lose support of the Iraqi public," Faily told Reuters during the interview.
"It (the decision) shows that the US administration does not view Iraq as a victim of terrorism, but on the contrary it views the Iraqi citizen as a terrorist until proven innocent. I see it as a bad message towards us," he added.
Faily, who has British citizenship, said he was told that the travel ban would still affect him as a person of Iraqi descent.
"As an Iraqi citizen I am affected by the restrictions. I have British nationality which I have acquired after living in the United Kingdom for 20 years. I contacted the US Embassy in Iraq, and to be more accurate, when the decision was issued and I was informed that regardless of any other nationality which I might have, I am affected by the ban because I am of Iraqi descent," said Faily, who served as Iraq's ambassador to Washington from 2013 until June 2016.
"I was informed by the US ambassador himself two days ago that I am not being banned as a British citizen, but rather as an Iraqi national," he added.
The immigration executive order signed by Trump a week ago temporarily halted the US refugee program and imposed a 90-day suspension on people travelling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.