Pan American World Airways is turning away Iraqi passengers from all domestic and overseas flights for security reasons - a policy challenged Saturday as unconstitutional by an Arab-American leader.

A Pan Am passenger agent in New York, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that airline employees were ordered to refuse all Iraqi nationals on all flights, regardless of whether they presented any signs of a threat."It's for security reasons," the agent said. "We're at war. We help them get on another airline if they ask for help."

Pan Am spokeswoman Elizabeth Hlinko told The New York Times Saturday that "in general" Iraqis who are U.S. residents would not be denied service as long as they can prove residency and identification.

The policy was immediately attacked by Dr. M.T. Mehdi, president of the Arab-American Relations Committee, who asked the airline to rescind the policy.