Iran has accused the United States of abusing its position as the host of the United Nations by denying a visa to the Islamic Republic's deputy foreign minister, according to a letter released on Friday.
Iran's letter to the U.N. Committee on Relations with the Host Country said Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh Basti was repeatedly denied a visa by U.S. authorities.
In the letter, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said Washington's refusal to issue an entry visa to Tehran's top official overseeing its relations with the United Nations kept him from attending events like the May 3-28 review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, where Iran's atomic program is a key topic of discussion.
Khazaee said U.S. authorities were misusing the country's status as the seat of the United Nations headquarters "as political leverage to advance their political agenda against certain countries."
He said it was "nothing short of calculated political intimidation and pressure" which he said "impairs the very foundations of multilateral diplomacy."
The U.S. mission to the United Nations did not have an immediate reaction.
Akhondzadeh Basti previously headed Iran's diplomatic missions to Pakistan, Germany and the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
As the host of U.N. headquarters, the United States has pledged to issue entry visas to officials from U.N. member states, though it can and does deny entry permits to foreign officials for many reasons, such as failure to meet deadlines or provide proper documentation, or if espionage is suspected.
Washington issued Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a visa to attend the opening of the nuclear arms treaty review conference earlier this month, though it has denied Iranian officials visas in the past, prompting complaints from Tehran.
ReutersLast Mod: 22 Mayıs 2010, 10:19