Presidential Power Concerning Diplomatic Agents and Staff of the Iranian Mission

Headnotes: 

While there is authority for imposing some travel restrictions on Iranian diplomatic personnel under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and customary international law, as well as under domestic law, those sources of law generally state that diplomats may not be placed in circumstances tantamount to house arrest, or barred from leaving the country, even as an act of reprisal for breaches of diplomatic immunity by Iran.

Subjecting Iranian diplomatic personnel to prosecution under the criminal provisions of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, even if done in reprisal for Iranian breaches of international law and accompanied by all applicable protections afforded by the United States Constitution, would raise serious questions under international law.

Updated July 9, 2014