US denies Iranian Zarif a visa to attend UN – US official –, Al Jazeera English

US denies Iranian Zarif a visa to attend UN – US official –, Al Jazeera English

TheUnited Stateshas denied a visa toIran‘s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have allowed him to attend a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a US official said.

Monday’s comments by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, came as tensions escalate between the two countries after the USkilledIranian most prominent military commander,

Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad on Friday.


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Under the UN “headquarters agreement,” the US is generally required to allow access to the UN for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism and foreign policy” reasons.

The US State Department declined to comment immediately.

Iranian mission to the UN said: “We have seen the media reports, but we have not received any official communication from either the US or the UN regarding Foreign Minister Zarif’s visa.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the apparent visa denial.

Zarif wanted to attend a meeting of the Security Council on Thursday on the topic of upholding the UN Charter. The meeting and Zarif’s travel had been planned before the escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The Security Council meeting would have given Zarif a global spotlight to publicly criticize the US for killing Soleimani.

Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, has described the killing of Soleimani as “an obvious example of state terrorism and, as a criminal act, constitutes a gross violation of the fundamental principles of international law, including, in particular … the Charter of the United Nations. “

Zarif last traveled to New York in September for the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN –after the US sanctioned himfor implementing “the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader.”

The last time Zarif was at the UN was in September when he accompanied President Hassan Rouhani to the th General Assembly meeting [File: Justine Lane/EPA]

Zarif - RouhaniZarif - Rouhani

The sanctions block any property or interests Zarif has in the US, but he says he has none.

Zarif also attended UN meetings in April and July. During his July visit, Washington imposed tight travel restrictions on Zarif and diplomats at Iran’s mission to the UN, confining them to a small section of New York City.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier on Monday.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement the pair discussed events in the Middle East and that Pompeo “expressed his appreciation” for Guterres’ diplomatic efforts.


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