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UN headquarters held hostage by Washington: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian government spokesman, Ali Rabiei, speaks during a news conference in the capital Tehran on July 22, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Iran says Washington’s obstructing the issuance of visa for Iranian officials to attend the United Nations General Assembly indicates the fact that the international body has been taken hostage by the White House.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Ali Rabiei, the spokesman for the Iranian administration, pointed to the failed US attempts to prevent the attendance of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the 74th session of the General Assembly in New York, saying that Washington was finally compelled to issue visas for them under UN pressure.

“The American authorities’ action [to issue visas for the Iranian president and foreign minister] was against their desire and the US administration was forced to do so under pressure from the United Nations,” Rabiei said.

He added, “One reason is that the US meant to deter the Iranian delegation from attending the General Assembly since their presence in America could be constructive (which would not have been in the interests of the US), and the other is that the United States has for years taken the UN headquarters hostage.”

The Iranian spokesman said the United States, despite having a huge media empire under its control, has tried to stop Iranian officials from speaking on its soil.

“The US administration shortlisted the Iranian delegation and crossed out the media as they could report from the United States. This is while we receive foreign media visiting Iran with open arms,” Rabiei added.

Also in his remarks on Monday, the spokesman for the Iranian administration said if Washington was prepared to suspend all the sanctions on Iran and return to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), then Tehran would be “open to talks.”

Ever since quitting the landmark 2015 deal with Iran in May 2018, US President Donald Trump has been running what he refers to as a "maximum pressure" campaign, which seeks to force Iran into negotiating a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence.

British tanker 'free' to go

Pointing to the lifting of seizure from a British tanker impounded by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf, Rabiei said the legal proceedings concerning the UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker have terminated and preparations have been made for its release; therefore, the vessel is free to sail.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad also confirmed in a post on Twitter on Monday that the judicial and legal process for the British tanker had been completed and was “now free to leave.

On July 19, Iran confiscated the 30,000-tonne tanker, which was violating international maritime rules while passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

On Sunday, An Iranian maritime official says the Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker detained by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in July in the Persian Gulf for violating international maritime law, will be released soon.

Noting that legal procedures for the tanker's exit from Iranian waters are underway and the results would be announced later, the official, however, added that the case related to the ship's infractions of the maritime law is still open.

"The final judgment on the violation of maritime law [by the UK vessel] will be passed through legal channels and its judicial results will be announced" in due time, he said.


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