- Posted January 9, 2014 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Iranian singer Khajeh Amiri denied U.S. work visa, 'illegal' concerts to be cancelled
UPDATE (January 17, 2014 14:02): Khajeh Amiri has obtained his work permits for all shows except Chicago (IL), Seattle (WA) & Washington, D.C. He is currently not permitted to legally perform in these cities.
Dubai, UAE -- Iranian composer and singer Ehsan Khajeh Amiri was denied his U.S. Visa early Friday morning at Washingon Dulles International Airport and sent back to Dubai, effectively cancelling the performer's plans to illegally perform in the U.S. without a B-1 U.S. work visa permit, sources tell CNN.
The United States Department of Homeland Security states on its government-run website (uscis.org) that Iranian citizens pursuing work or business endeavors in the U.S. must first obtain a general license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Khajeh Amiri is an Iranian national.
Calls to a Los Angeles-based company promoting the 29-year-old Khajeh Amiri's concert were not returned to CNN.
U.S. Customs officials would allow Khajeh Amiri to re-enter the U.S., but only on the condition that he consent to a signed release that he not perform or work during his stay, according to sources. Khajeh Amiri will attempt to enter the U.S. on a 90-day visitor's visa immediately.
This is not the first time that Khajeh Amiri has experienced trouble with obtaining a U.S. entry visa.
A previous Khajeh Amiri concert on April 23, 2011 at L.A.'s Gibson Amphitheatre was cancelled by the same concert promoter because Khajeh Amiri did not possess the requisite work visa when entering the U.S. Live Nation, Inc., an L.A.-based concert and ticketing conglomerate that manages the Gibson Amphitheatre, confirmed the cancellation.
A subsequent performance that year at George Washington's Lisner Auditorium, originally scheduled for May 29, was also cancelled. A quick Google search with the terms "Ehsan Khaje Amiri Gibson concert cancelled" provides Facebook links from the actual concert promoter corroborating the cancellations.
Outlets in the L.A. area did not refund customers' money when the concerts were cancelled, according to evidence posted on the event pages. The source warns concert ticket purchasers to not purchase tickets to events involving performers with previous immigration issues.
The source said that while the USCIS does not meddle in the business of event promotions or venues who work with singers like Khajeh Amiri who are not legally authorized to perform in the U.S., the entity does explain on its website that incidents brought to its attention via anonymous tips that demonstrate violation of the laws of the Office of Foreign Assets Control may lead to recourse being sought against such promoters and venues who are in this sense, explicitly breaking federal law by not asking for government documentation of work permission by Iranian citizens.
The source wouldn't confirm whether concert venues in Atlanta, San Jose, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York - among others - are presently harboring such a risk of breaking federal law by allowing online ticket sales for Khajeh Amiri's concerts and allowing their venues to be booked by local concert promoters without first confirming proper documentation from the promoters with regards to the singer.
Additionally, the source said, while a primary beneficiary - in this case, the L.A.-based promotions company promoting Khajeh Amiri's concert - may have secured some sort of obscure permit from the U.S. government to engage with an Iranian national, this permit is not transferrable and venues in the aforementioned cities may not contract with other secondary parties – in this case, local promoters in these cities - nor allow any tickets to be sold by or contracts signed by secondary parties, i.e. local promoters.
CNN will update this story as it unfolds.