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US Issues New Travel Warning to Iran

FILE - US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (2R) in Vienna, Austria on Jan. 16, 2016, on what is expected to be "implementation day," the day the IAEA verifies that Iran has met all conditions under the nuclear d

The U.S. Department of State is warning American citizens, especially Iranian-Americans, of the risks of travel to Iran.

The travel warning issued Friday replaces what was in effect since August 5, 2015. It reiterates the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans, in Iran.

The alert was issued only days after five Americans, including four dual Iranian nationals, were released by Iran in a prisoner swap, following the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, while the Islamic Republic began the implementation of a deal to curb its nuclear program.

The warning says that “various elements'' in Iran remain hostile to the U.S., although Iran and six other countries, including the U.S. reached an agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program last July. The State Department warning says that Iranian authorities continue to "harass, arrest and detain U.S. citizens."

Because the United States does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Iran, the U.S. has limited ability to help American citizens there in the event of an emergency.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens in Iran to ensure that they have up-to-date documentation at all times and make their own plans in the event of an emergency.

Presently, the Embassy of Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran, but Iran has often denied the Swiss consular access to dual nationals.