Thu, 19 Sep 2019

The United Nations has voiced its concern to the United States over travel restrictions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his visit to New York this week for a UN meeting.

Zarif arrived in New York on July 14 and is scheduled to take part in a meeting on July 17 of the UN's Economic and Social Council.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on the visit amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

But Zarif is only allowed to travel between the United Nations, the Iranian UN mission, the Iranian UN ambassador's residence and New York's John F. Kennedy airport, a U.S. State Department official said.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on July 15 that the UN secretariat is 'in close contact with the permanent missions of the United States and Iran to the U.N. and has conveyed its concerns to the host country.'

Longtime U.S.-Iran strains have worsened since U.S. President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from a 2015 international agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

U.S. special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said no U.S. government officials would meet with Zarif.

'There is no back channel currently going on between the United States and anybody in the Iranian regime. Everything that's being said is being said by the president and the secretary of state publicly,' Hook told Fox News Channel on July 15.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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