Politics

US Denies Iranian Foreign Minister a Visa to Attend UN Event

The United States has denied Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a visa to attend an upcoming United Nations event in New York City, national security adviser Robert OBrien confirmed on Jan. 7.

“I dont think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” OBrien said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“I actually find it somewhat ironic that Mr. Zarif wants to take advantage of the diplomatic niceties of being able to come to New York and come to the U.N., when his revolution was born in the taking of 52 American diplomats hostage in Iran and holding them for 444 days.”

“That undermined every principle of democracy,” OBrien added. “So, I think he will be fine missing that meeting.”

robert o'brien
robert o'brien
National security adviser Robert OBrien listens as President Donald Trump speaks about Syria in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington on Oct. 23, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Zarif can call in or participate via video teleconference, OBrien said.

Zarif complained that his visa was denied, claiming on Jan. 7 that the United States was violating the 1947 UNHQ agreement, which outlines rules governing the U.N. headquarters in New York. While one of the rules lets foreign officials into the country to conduct U.N. business, Washington says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism, and foreign policy” reasons.

“What are they really afraid of? Truth?” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

The U.N. Security Council will meet Jan. 9 to discuss the organizations charter. Zarif traveled to New York in September 2019 when world leaders gathered at the United Nations, meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and several other leaders.

“We dont comment on visa matters, those traveling to the United States on visas,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Washington on Jan. 7. “Ill say only this: We will always comply with our obligations under the U.N. requirements and the headquarters agreement. We will do so in this instance and, more broadly, every day.”

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