Is New York Times’ claim on US’ restrictions on Iran’s delegation to UNGA ‘practically’ true?

ISNA – The New York Times has recently claimed that Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani’s travel to New York for delivering a speech at the 74th UN General Assembly is restricted and the movement of his accompanied delegation has been also banned in the city, but Rouhani’s agenda seems to contradict the claim.

The purpose of President Rouhani’s trip to US is to attend the UNGA, not a short-term stay in the country. As the host government, the US is generally obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at UN headquarters. So, imposing any restriction in issuing visa or activity of Iranian delegation is contrary to US administration’s commitments to UN Charter as a host country and a member of the international organization.

Restricting the movement of the Iranian delegation is not only an ineffective and dramatic action, but also it is US’ violation of its commitments because Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif have such a compact program that practically during the previous years, they haven’t had enough time to go anywhere except UN headquarters, the hotel and Iran’s mission at the UN and it wasn’t even necessary.

As scheduled, president Rouhani will hold 13 meetings with heads and senior officials from various countries such as France, the UK, Japan, Spain, Iraq, Pakistan and Switzerland besides international media. Delivering a speech at the UN General Assembly, hold talks with senior directors of American media and elites of the country’s foreign policy, meeting with heads of some Asian and European countries as well as UN secretary general are on President Rouhani’s agenda during the visit.

Of course, what has been announced is only pre-arranged program of Iranian delegation during the trip, and there is also the possibility that the Islamic Republic agrees to hold press interviews or meet with other heads of states at their request.

Given what has been announced by Iranian officials, it doesn’t seem that the claim made by the New York Times is practically true and it is more likely an attempt by a US media outlet to portray Rouhani’s presence at the UNGA fruitless.