Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation may not be able to attend an annual UN meeting in New York because the US government has not issued visas to them, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Wednesday.
“Up until this moment,” the Iranian delegation has not been able to travel to New York due to the US government not issuing visas, reported IRNA. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is holding its annual meeting at its New York headquarters.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Rouhani were scheduled to leave Tehran for New York on Friday and Monday respectively, according to IRNA. However, their trips will “probably” be cancelled if the US does not issue visas within the next few hours, IRNA reported.
Iran’s non-attendance at the UNGA, if confirmed, would show that the US does not value diplomacy, said IRNA, adding that Iran will not “leave the scene empty” and will continue its “active diplomacy.”
The UN’s 193 member countries are due to meet at the UN’s headquarters in New York, with the general debate starting on September 23, 2019. The theme of this year’s debate is: “Galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.”
The US is pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure” sanctions against Iran in response to Iran’s destabilizing actions across the region. US officials have accused Iran of carrying out Saturday’s drone attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities.
President Donald Trump had said on September 12 that he believes that Iran’s leadership wants a meeting, adding to expectations that he is trying to arrange a summit with Rouhani at the upcoming assembly. Iran, however, said on September 16 that there would be no meeting between Rouhani and Trump at the UN.