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July 17, 2019 12:24 pm

Zarif Says US Travel Curbs on Iranian Diplomats ‘Inhuman’

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif takes part in a High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at United Nations headquarters in New York, July 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mike Segar.

Iran‘s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that tight US travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York were “basically inhuman.”

“It is certainly not a friendly action. It puts the members of the mission and their families under basically inhuman conditions. But for me it’s fine because I don’t have any work anywhere other than the three buildings,” he told reporters at the United Nations.

The United States has restricted their travel to between the United Nations, the Iranian UN mission, the Iranian UN ambassador’s residence and John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport. There is also a carve-out for six blocks surrounding Queensboro Plaza in the borough of Queens. It was not immediately clear why. JFK is also in Queens.

Longtime US-Iran strains have worsened since US President Donald Trump last year quit a 2015 international agreement to curb Iran‘s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Trump has imposed more sanctions on Iran.

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“The United States is engaged in economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “It targets ordinary civilians, it amounts to terrorism.”

When asked what steps need to be taken to de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran, Zarif said: “That has to stop. Once it stops, other things can follow.”

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