US Denies Visa to Ex-NATO Chief for Iran Visit

Former NATO chief Iran nuclear deal architect deprived US visa because he visited… Iran

Former North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Javier Solana said the United States denied his entry into the country under a visa-waiver program over his visit to blacklisted Iran. Therefore, in order to avoid surprises, before boarding the plane they suggest to obtain an electronic authorization.

He was due to speak at Washington's Brookings Institution, but later learned he would not be able to enter the USA after trying to apply for an electronic visa waiver because of his visits to Iran when he was serving as both a diplomat and one of the EU's chief nuclear negotiators.

The ESTA "determines the eligibility of visitors from certain countries to travel to the United States without having to apply for a visa", noted the Times.

"It's a petty decision", he told Spanish television, explaining he had gone to Iran in 2013 to attend President Hassan Rohani's swearing-in ceremony. Solana said he had gone to Iran as a representative of all sides that were party to the negotiations with Tehran, the Guardian reported.

"People must go to the most complicated countries to keep going with negotiations".

"What they [the US] have is a computer with an algorithm, and if it knows you went to Iran recently, it takes you off the system", he said.

The visa rules date from the Obama administration, and are unconnected to President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, which targets Iran and five other Muslim-majority countries.

According to the newspaper, the ESTA system will automatically reject the statements of those citizens who last visited Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen.

Solana hopes to have the situation resolved as quickly as possible as he has professional commitments to honour in the USA that include doing work for global organisations and serving as a professor at various universities.

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