US won’t grant Iran foreign minister visa for UN visit

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. won’t issue Iran’s foreign minister a visa to travel to the United Nations later this week, contending there was not enough time to process the request.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif smiles as he speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. Zarif's visit to the UN has been blocked by the U.S. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The trip would have been an opportunity for Mohammed Javad Zarif to discuss the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad last week.

That targeted killing has escalated tensions with Iran, which has vowed to retaliate.

A U.S. official confirmed Tuesday that the application couldn’t be processed in time. The official wasn’t authorized to speak on the record and discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

Zarif responded on Twitter to the ban, calling it a violation of the 1947 UNHQ Agreement.

A spokesman for Iran’s U.N. Mission said Zarif applied for a visa on Dec. 20.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.