Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said the United States declined to issue him a visa to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting scheduled in New York later this week, as tensions escalate between the two countries after the US killed Iran’s most prominent military commander.
“They fear that someone comes to the US and reveals realities,” Zarif said on Tuesday.
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His comments come as Iran preparedto bury the remains of Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated on Friday near’s Baghdad international airport in a US air strike.
Under the 1947 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.
There was no immediate comment by the US State Department.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the apparent visa denial.
The meeting and Zarif’s travel had been planned before the escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.
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.”
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.
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.