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Iran's parliament speaker cancels US visit over visa delay

Tehran, Sept 7, IRNA-Speaker of the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel called off his visit to New York, US, to attend a United Nations conference due to the delay of his visa delivery, it was reported in Tehran Tuesday evening.

The Majlis speaker was scheduled to participate in the Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliament at the United Nations' New York headquarters from September 7-9.

However, Hadad-Adel has decided not to go to the US after he was informed Tuesday afternoon by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi who was at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport, of the delay of his visa delivery.

Speaking to reporters after Hadad-Adel's visit was called off, Asefi said, "The speaker has decided, with dignity, not to go to the US." According to the spokesman the US authorities were informed of the speaker's planned visit two months earlier.

"Last week, after receiving contradictory information on the failure to deliver a visa, Tehran protested against US behavior on misusing the United Nations," Asefi said.

He added that the Swiss ambassador in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Sunday as the representative of the US interests in Tehran. He assured that he would follow up the case.

"Finally, he informed Iranian officials on Monday that the visa would be delivered Tuesday," Asefi added.

According to Asefi, the Swiss ambassador officially informed Iranian authorities on Monday that the speaker's visa would be delivered on Tuesday.

However, when the Iranian officials went to the embassy to obtain the visa, said the spokesman, "They were told that it would finally be delivered on Wednesday.

"Tehran believes the Americans' attitude has been insulting and uncivilized," Asefi said.

Criticizing the US officials' behavior, the spokesman described it as "ugly" and "unacceptable".

He added that washington cannot take hostage international organizations including those whose headquarters are situated on its soil.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, and three MPs: Mousa Qorbani, Mohsen Yahyavi and Mehrangiz Morovvati, were among members of the Iranian delegation to the UN conference.

Two of the MPs, Yahyavi and Morovvati, left Tehran for New York on Tuesday as they had been delivered their visas.

Prior to her departure, Morovvati said it would be better if the rest of the members of the delegation would finally receive their visas. However, if those who have received their visas would attend the UN conference to "defend Iran's right", it would be fine.

More than 150 speakers of parliaments attend the conference organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the UN headquarters

... Payvand News - 9/7/05 ... --

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