China asks US to provide visa to Iranian FM to attend UN meetings
Beijing: China on Tuesday urged the US to provide visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend UN Security Council meetings in New York this week, saying that as a country hosting the United Nations, Washington is obliged to provide visa for officials of member countries.
Zarif on Monday said the United States had declined to issue him a visa to attend the UN Security Council’s meeting scheduled in New York later this week to discuss US-Iran tensions over the killing of prominent Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in American airstrike in Baghdad on Friday.
Soleimani, 62, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed in a US drone attack while leaving Baghdad International Airport last week, sparking fears of a new war in the Middle East.
The strike also killed deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
“They fear that someone comes to the US and reveals realities,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera TV in Tehran on Tuesday.
When asked for his reaction, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told journalists here that “to provide convenience including visa is the responsibility of the US as a host country”.
“We urge the US to fulfil obligations as a host country and to provide for convenience to the public services personnel of the relevant country to attend the UN meetings,” he said.
On Monday, Geng criticised the US for the tensions with Iran saying the US “adventurism” aggravated the crisis in the Middle East and urged all parties to exercise restraint. He said Beijing was “highly concerned” over the worsening situation.
Iran has vowed to avenge the general’s killing, and US President Donald Trump has threatened “major retaliation” if any American targets are hit.
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