Reuters – January 07, 2020
NEW YORK: The United States has denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that would have allowed him to attend a UN 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 United States killed Iran’s most prominent military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad on Friday.
Under the 1947 UN “headquarters agreement,” the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism and foreign policy” reasons.
The US State Department declined immediate comment. Iran’s mission to the United Nations 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 US denial of a visa for Javad Zarif.
The Iranian FM 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 latest flare-up in tensions between Washington and Tehran.
The Security Council meeting would have given Zarif a global spotlight to publicly criticize the United States for killing Soleimani.
Iran’s UN envoy, 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.