The administration of United States (US) President Donald Trump has issued visas to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in order for them to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York next week.
Both the US and Iranian officials have confirmed that the two senior figures have received the documents required to travel, but some members of the Iranian delegation have been refused visas for unspecified reasons, according to one source familiar with the decision.
A similar incident took place the last time the Trump administration granted a visa to an Iranian official – once again Zarif on his visit in July to a UN conference in New York – when a number of bodyguards were refused visas due to their alleged links to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the US blacklisted as a terrorist group back in April.
The US’ issuing of visas to Rouhani and Zarif comes amid a period of speculation that they would be blocked from attending the General Assembly after Trump suggested on Wednesday that he would attempt to prevent their entry to the US.
Trump had originally intended to meet Rouhani separately in order to try and resolve the breakdown in relations between the two countries however Rouhani repeatedly refused to hold talks with the US until sanctions are lifted. Tensions between the two countries increased after Trump unilaterally withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal in 2017, imposing “unprecedented sanctions” on Tehran.