President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he would give visas to Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to attend next week’s U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“If it was up to me, I’d let them come,” said Trump on a tarmac in Los Angeles. “I would certainly not want to keep people out if they want to come.”
Rouhani said on Wednesday that he may cancel his visit to New York if the visas for him and Zarif aren’t issued shortly, reported Reuters, citing Iranian state media.
The United States, the host country, is required to issue the visas under an agreement it has with the United Nations. The U.S. State Department, which issues visas, does not comment on individual cases.
Although the United States sanctioned Zarif in July, which blocks him access from entering America, in addition to its markets, “diplomats from designated countries are limited to the areas that they can travel while in the U.S. It’s a limited visa,” Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, told JNS.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said on Wednesday that it’s been in touch with the United States in order to resolve any visa issues.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have intensified since the former withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, reimposing sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties.
On Sept. 14, Iran attacked two Saudi Aramco oil facilities.