In another effort to punish Tehran for holding 50 American hostages, the Carter administration Saturday announced a new visa policy that could force tens of thousands of Iranians to leave the United States over the next several months.
Iranians in America will no longer receive extensions of temporary visas, nor will they be allowed to become permanent residents, except for "compelling humanitarian reasons," said david Crosland, acting commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
There are an estimated 150,000 Iranians in the US. the new strictures will bear most heavily on tourists, corporate officials, and Iranian crewmen. They are not likely immediately to affect some 60,000 students, most of whome have visas with indefinite terms.
Mr. crosland said extensions or adjustments of visas will be granted only:
* If an Iranian has "a fear of persecution based on ethnic origin [or] re ligious or political beliefs" and files a claim for asylum.
* If the Iranian is a child, parent, brother, or sister of a US citizen, or the Iranian is a spouse or unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident.
* If the Iranian needs immediate medical attention.
Most Iranian visitors to the US are on six-month visas, he said.
Meanwhile, Iran will limit the number of visas issued to American journalists in the wake of the diplomatic break with the United States, Foreign Press Director Abolhassem Sadegh said Sunday. Mr. Sadegh said he intended to accredit no more than 25 journalists working for US news organizations at any one time. the restriction will also apply to non- Americans working for the US media, he said.