United States blocks Iranian Foreign Minister from attending UN Security Council meeting

A US official indicated that the country had denied Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister, a visa to attend  United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday.

Speaking on a condition of anonymity, the US official indicated that the development was informed by escalating tensions between the two countries after the United States killed Iran’s most prominent military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone airstrike at Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.

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.

Based on the 1947 U.N. “headquarters agreement,” the United States is  required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington, in a rejoinder, says it can deny visas for “security, terrorism and foreign policy” reasons.

The Security Council meeting would have given Mohammad Javad Zarif a global spotlight to publicly criticize the United States for the killing of

Mohammad Javad Zarif/ABC News
Mohammad Javad Zarif/ABC News

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

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