US denies Iran’s Zarif visa ahead of UN Security Council meeting: Foreign Policy

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The White House is blocking Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif from entering the United States ahead of Thursday’s UN Security Council session and barring him from speaking about the killing of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, Foreign Policy reports citing three diplomatic sources.

According to Foreign Policy’s report, Zarif has requested a visa to enter the US several weeks ago to attend a UN Security Council meeting planned for January 9.

“The Iranian government was awaiting word on the visa Monday when a Trump administration official phoned UN Secretary-General António Guterres to inform him that the United States would not allow Zarif into the country,” Foreign Policy said in its report citing one diplomatic source.

Last July, Zarif was not allowed beyond a six-block radius during his visit to New York City, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, adding that Zarif was only given a US visa as part of the US’s obligation toward the UN- being that it is the host country of the organization’s headquarters.

During that visit, Zarif could only move between the United Nations, the Iranian UN mission, the Iranian UN ambassador’s residence and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport.

According to a UN 1947 agreement, the US is required to allow foreign diplomats entry for access to the UN. However, Washington has said in the past that it holds the right to deny visas for “security, terrorism, and foreign policy” reasons.

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