US President Donald Trump has signed a sweeping travel ban into law, banning travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and blocking citizens of the six nations from entering the US for 90 more days.
The US has previously said it was responding to the recent terror attacks in France, which killed 130 people.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that Trump’s order would “provide a lawful avenue for countries to address concerns raised by the United States regarding travel, particularly for individuals from countries subject to sanctions.”
He said he would provide an update to the US government about its implementation in the coming days.
Iran, the most populous country in the Middle East, has long been subject to US sanctions for its support for the Syrian government.
Saudi Arabia, which has backed the Assad regime, has also been sanctioned for its role in Yemen’s civil war.
Iran has been among the hardest hit by the US travel ban and has been the subject of diplomatic and travel sanctions.
US and international officials have said Iran could be the first to be hit by a similar ban.
The order is also expected to affect travel from all nations that have not signed the Iran nuclear deal, including Russia and China.
Iran and its allies have called the nuclear deal a “grave mistake” that has led to an “unmitigated humanitarian catastrophe”.
The ban is also likely to hit Saudi Arabia hard, which had previously complained about US sanctions.
The kingdom is a major US ally and the biggest supplier of arms to Iran.
Iran says it will continue to supply arms to the Syrian rebels and has accused the US of using the nuclear agreement to undermine the Iranian regime.