United states is barring Iran’s top diplomat from entering the United States this week to address the United Nations Security Council about the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top military official in Baghdad, violating the terms of a 1947 headquarters agreement requiring Washington to permit foreign officials into the country to conduct U.N. business, according to three diplomatic sources.
Under the 1947 U.N. “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.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif requested a visa a “few weeks ago” to enter the United States to attend a Jan. 9 Security Council meeting on the importance of upholding the U.N. Charter, according to a diplomatic source familiar with the matter.
The U.S. 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 U.S. or the U.N. regarding Foreign Minister Zarif’s visa.”
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the U.S. denial of a visa for Zarif.
Zarif wanted to attend a meeting of the Security Council on Thursday on the topic of upholding the U.N. 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 U.N. 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.”
Zarif last traveled to New York in September for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations – after the United States sanctioned him for implementing “the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader.”
The sanctions block any property or interests Zarif has in the United States, but he said he had none.
Zarif also attended U.N. meetings in April and July. During his July visit, Washington imposed tight travel restrictions on Zarif and diplomats at Iran’s mission to the United Nations, confining them to a small section of New York City.
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