Amid soaring US-Iran tensions, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday headed to the United Nations after the United States issued him a visa but restricted his movements. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington agreed to let him enter but forbade him from moving beyond just six blocks of Iran’s UN mission in Midtown Manhattan.
Pompeo told The Washington Post, “US diplomats don’t roam around Tehran, so we don’t see any reason for Iranian diplomats to roam freely around New York City, either.”
Pompeo accused Zarif of spreading malign propaganda. “Foreign Minister Zarif, he uses the freedoms of the United States to come here and spread malign propaganda,” he said.
Zarif is scheduled to speak on Wednesday at the UN Economic and Social Council, which is holding a high-level meeting on sustainable development.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran is ready to talk to the United States if sanctions imposed are lifted. "We have always believed in talks ... if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere," Rouhani said.
Reacting to this, Pompeo said, “President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the (Iran nuclear deal) which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster.”
Earlier, Donal Trump had imposed "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran. Trump's move to impose fresh set of sanctions on Iran comes days after Tehran said it shot down an American drone in the region on Thursday. However, Trump denies the drone, valued at more than USD 100 million, violated Iranian airspace, saying he backed away from planned strikes after learning that 150 people would be killed in the military action.
Tensions have been escalating between the United States and Iran since Trump last year withdrew the US from a global nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.