The Trump administration is reportedly barring Iran’s top diplomat from entering the United States this week to address the United Nations Security Council. If true, that would be an entirely unjustified and unwise move. We host the United Nations and, as long as we intend to do so, we have an obligation to allow travel to the United Nations, particularly by the leading diplomat for a foreign country. We can restrict his movements in the United States, but this should have been approved immediately in line with our agreements.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif requested a visa a “few weeks ago” to enter the United States to attend a Jan. 9 Security Council meeting. Zarif has a more pressing interest now in speaking to the United Nations after the Jan. 3 drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani.
We can always debate the long-standing question of our hosting of this body. I think it is a point of pride for our country. However, so long as we are the host, we cannot use that status to regulate who speaks to other countries. The United Nations was founded to allow dialogue and exchange, including between countries which might not otherwise speak directly.