UNITED NATIONS—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address a United Nations conference in New York next month that will review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the U.S. and other nations say Iran is violating in its apparent pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed that Washington has "responsibilities as the host country" of the U.N. to grant the Iranian president a visa. Mr. Ahmadinejad has visited New York several times in recent years on a U.S. visa to address the General Assembly's annual general debate.
A U.N. official said it was "established legal practice" for the U.S. to grant visas to any head of state or government that seeks to attend a U.N. conference. He said it was based on the U.N.'s host-country agreement with the U.S. and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The U.S. has in the past granted visas to leaders it considered controversial, such as Cuban President Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the late president of the Palestinian Authority. The obligation only applies to a head of state or government, the U.N. official said. In 1988, the U.S. denied Mr. Arafat a visa on security grounds, a move denounced by the General Assembly in a 151-2 vote. The U.N. moved the meeting to Geneva so Mr. Arafat could attend.
In 2007, the Iranian president made a controversial speech at Columbia University during which he said no homosexuals lived in Iran. During that visit, he... >>>
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