'They Fear Someone Will Go There and Tell the Truth,' Says Iran's Top Diplomat as Trump White House Bars Him From US
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday confirmed reports that the Trump administration has denied him a visa to enter the U.S. for a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York this week, a move the diplomat said was motivated by a desire to suppress facts about the assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
“This is because they fear someone will go there and tell the truth to the American people,” Zarif told reporters from Tehran. “But they are mistaken. The world is not limited to New York. You can speak with American people from Tehran too and we will do that.”
“Pompeo doesn’t want Zarif to have a platform for making his case.”
—Mark Fitzpatrick, former U.S. State Department official
Zarif’s remarks came after Foreign Policy, citing three anonymous diplomatic sources, reported Monday that the Trump administration had decided to bar the foreign minister from entering the U.S., “violating the terms of a 1947 headquarters agreement requiring Washington to permit foreign officials into the country to conduct U.N. business.”
On Twitter, Zarif said the Trump administration’s decision to deny him a visa “pales in comparison” to the White House’s other aggressive actions against Iran, from devastating economic sanctions to threats to destroy its cultural heritage.
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The U.N. meeting Thursday would have been Zarif’s first address to the international community since the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, which the Iranian foreign minister condemned as an “act of terrorism.”
According to Foreign Policy, Iran was “awaiting word on the visa Monday when a Trump administration official phoned U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to inform him that the United States would not allow Zarif into the country.”
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