US de­nies Iran’s for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter visa

The Punch - - WORLD NEWS -

IRAN’S for­eign min­is­ter said tues­day he has been in­formed by UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res that Wash­ing­ton has de­nied him a visa for a trip to UN head­quar­ters in New York.

“What we know is that the US State Sec­re­tary (Mike Pom­peo), in a call to the Sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the United Na­tions, said: ‘We did not have time to is­sue a visa for Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif and we will not is­sue a visa’,” Zarif said.

“the Sec­re­tary-gen­eral re­sponded by say­ing that it is Iran’s right to take part in this session,” tehran’s top diplo­mat said, quoted by semi-of­fi­cial news agency ISNA.

The Guardian of UK said so far there has been no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion from Wash­ing­ton that it has re­jected Zarif’s visa ap­pli­ca­tion.

Zarif was speak­ing to re­porters in tehran at a gath­er­ing to pro­mote an Ira­nian peace plan for the Gulf.

His re­marks came as Iran held funeral pro­ces­sions on tues­day for one of its top mil­i­tary com­man­ders killed in a US drone strike in Iraq.

Zarif later took to twit­ter, say­ing the re­jec­tion vi­o­lated the terms of a 1947 agree­ment on the travel of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of UN mem­bers to and from the head­quar­ters.

But he said “deny­ing me a visa… pales in com­par­i­son to” US sanc­tions and threats, as well as the “cow­ardly as­sas­si­na­tion” of Ira­nian gen­eral Qasem Soleimani last week.

“What are they re­ally afraid of? the truth?” he tweeted.

Soleimani’s killing in the US strike Fri­day in Bagh­dad has sparked a war of words be­tween the arch-foes, with Iran vow­ing “se­vere re­venge” and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald trump threat­en­ing to hit back hard for any re­tal­i­a­tion.

trump warned on Satur­day that Wash­ing­ton had lined up 52 tar­gets if tehran at­tacked US per­son­nel or as­sets.

Zarif said the US visa de­ci­sion was “a sign of the bank­ruptcy of the US gov­ern­ment and trump’s regime”, ac­cord­ing to ISNA.

the Ira­nian for­eign min­is­ter said he had been plan­ning to go to UN head­quar­ters on thurs­day for an open de­bate on “Up­hold­ing the Char­ter of the United Na­tions”.

But he added that he had also in­tended to “raise Amer­ica’s crimes” dur­ing his visit to New York.

It is not the first time that Ira­nian of­fi­cials have en­coun­tered prob­lems when trav­el­ling to New York for events at UN head­quar­ters.

In De­cem­ber, the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly called on the United States to lift re­stric­tions on Ira­nian diplo­mats.

Since mid-2019, Ira­nian diplo­mats and min­is­ters have been un­der strict move­ment re­stric­tions when they are in the United States.

they are lim­ited largely to the area around UN head­quar­ters, the Ira­nian diplo­matic mis­sion and the am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence.

In Septem­ber, while tak­ing part in the an­nual Gen­eral Assem­bly, Zarif com­plained he was un­able to visit the coun­try’s UN am­bas­sador in a US hos­pi­tal.

Photo: AFP

•L–R: For­mer French Pres­i­dent, Fran­cois Hol­lande; Mayor of Paris, Anne Hi­dalgo; and French Jus­tice Min­is­ter, Ni­cole Bel­lou­bet, at a cer­e­mony mark­ing the fifth an­niver­sary of the ji­hadist at­tack of the satir­i­cal magazine that killed 12 peo­ple, in Paris ... on Tues­day.

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