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Iran: Foreign Minister denies assassination attempt against envoy to UN

Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Majid Takht Ravanchi delivers a speech during the UN Security Council on implementation of the resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on 26 June 2019. [Atılgan Özdil - Anadolu Agency]
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Majid Takht Ravanchi in New York, US on 26 June 2019 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denied on Monday that his country’s envoy to the UN was the victim of an assassination attempt using biological toxins, Iranian media have reported. Zarif explained that envoy Majid Takht Ravanchi was diagnosed with cancer immediately after his arrival in New York to take up his post as Iran’s permanent envoy to the international organisation.

“Takht Ravanchi was not aware of his illness while in Iran,” said the Foreign Minister. “If we were aware of his condition, we would have started the treatment in Iran, but the diagnosis was made in America, and his doctor emphasised the need for immediate surgery.” Zarif pointed out that the envoy has undergone surgery and is now receiving chemotherapy.

The Iranian envoy could not attend the UN General Assembly alongside President Hassan Rouhani due to his serious illness. Zarif was banned from visiting him in a New York hospital close to the UN Headquarters due to the visa and travel restrictions imposed by the US on members of the Iranian delegation to the General Assembly, including Rouhani. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi condemned the ban on Zarif visiting Takht Ravanchi at the hospital, describing the measure as “inhuman”.

READ: Family members taken ‘hostage’ by Iran to silence critics abroad

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