Tehran, Sept 19, IRNA-A group of Iranian reporters and photographers who were to travel with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York were refused visas by US State Department officials although they had officially applied for such visas one week earlier, it was reported in Tehran Tuesday.
President Ahmadinejad arrived in New York Tuesday morning to attend the 61st annual session of the UN General Assembly, due to start today and end on Sept 27.
The president has just ended a three-nation tour which took him to Senegal, Cuba and Venezuela.
The group of reporters and photographers who were to accompany the president in his trip to New York who were denied entry visas to the US to cover discussions and debates during the UN General Assembly session as well as the president's speech at the annual session had to return home from Venezuela, where they were covering the president on the last leg of a tri-nation tour and from where they were to fly to New York.
President Ahmadinejad is among world leaders scheduled to address the 61st UN General Assembly session later today.
Latest reports said US authorities were still balking at the idea of granting visas for the group in violation of their commitment as the UN's host country.
According to a treaty signed by Washington with the United Nations, Washington has committed itself "not to impose any impediment" to the entry of officials of UN member countries to its territory to attend conferences of the world body or for UN business.
Criticizing US discrimination, IRNA Managing Director Ahmad Khademolmelleh said Monday evening that Washington was acting against international law, rules and regulations.
"As the host country of the UN, the US is sacrificing goals of the global media by refusing visas to Iranian reporters who were to cover discussions and debates at the 61st annual session of the UN General Assembly," complained the IRNA chief.
He further said that limitations imposed on reporters of Iran and developing states "are clear examples of the US' double standards and are a violation of their rights as members of the global media." The US Cabal News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) separately aired documentaries in May on the restrictions imposed by US authorities on Iran's US-based reporters, stating the case of IRNA reporter Maqsoud Amirian, who was refused visas for his family (wife and two children) whom he had not seen for more than 15 months.
Amirian regrets that until now he has not succeeded in obtaining visas for his wife and two children to visit him.
A group of Iranian journalists have contacted IRNA headquarters in Tehran to condemn the US decision and urge Iranian officials to take retaliatory measures against US reporters.
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