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US Denies Zarif’s Visit to UN Envoy at NY Hospital
By Staff, Agencies
The United States denied a visit request by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Iran’s United Nations ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi in a New York hospital where he is being treated for cancer, both the US State Department and Iranian UN mission said.
A US State Department spokesperson said Zarif’s request would be granted in case Iran released one of several American citizens it had detained, Reuters reported.
In July, the United States imposed tight travel restrictions on the Iranian foreign minister before a visit that month to the United Nations, as well as on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York, which Zarif described as “basically inhuman.”
Unless they receive prior approval from Washington, they are only allowed to travel within a small area of Manhattan, Queens and to and from John F. Kennedy airport.
Iran’s UN mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi said Ravanchi was being treated for cancer in a hospital not far away in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood. Zarif is in New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.
At a news conference in New York on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran was open to talking about prisoner swaps but that the ball was in Washington’s court after Iran’s release of a Lebanese man with US permanent residency in June.
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