NewsSpecial WireU.S. refuses visa to top Iran official

U.S. refuses visa to top Iran official

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Sep. 03 – Iran’s Foreign Ministry and senior officials reacted harshly to the decision by the United States not to grant visas to senior Iranian officials to travel to New York in mid-September to take part in an international parliamentary meeting. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 03 – Iran’s Foreign Ministry and senior officials reacted harshly to the decision by the United States not to grant visas to senior Iranian officials to travel to New York in mid-September to take part in an international parliamentary meeting.

Among the officials banned by the U.S. State Department from entering the United States was Iran’s Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel. Adel, a hard-liner, is closely allied to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The two are also related; Adel’s daughter is married to Khamenei’s son.

The radical Majlis Speaker is no stranger to diplomatic controversy. In July, he had to cancel his visit to Italy after a string of strongly-worded statements by senior Italian cabinet ministers on Iran’s presidential elections. His visit to Belgium turned into a fiasco over his refusal to attend an official dinner hosted by his Belgian counterpart, because wine was being served. Belgium’s Senate president cancelled her meeting with Adel when he said he would refuse to shake hands with her.

On Saturday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi used strong words to criticise the U.S. decision.

“With this immoral act, America has shown that it is incompetent to host international institutions”, he said.

Iran’s new Minister of Justice was equally harsh in condemning the decision. “This action by the U.S. is against international laws and norms”, Jamal Karimi-Rad said.

An influential hard-line ally of Haddad Adel said the Americans “were afraid of letting our delegation attend the inter-parliamentary meeting”. Hossein Shariatmadari, a former general of the Revolutionary Guards and the editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan, said U.S. officials were fearful, because the Iranian delegation planned to reveal some important secrets “related to recent developments on the global scene”.

Firebrand Shiite cleric Moussa Ghorbani, a hard-line deputy, had also been expected to travel to New York with Haddad Adel.

Analysts said the U.S. decision was significant, as it highlighted intransigent Iran’s increasing isolation on the international scene.

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