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Iran strikes US for banning senior Zarif diplomat from visit to New York hospital



Iran criticized the United States on Saturday for what it called a "inhuman" decision to ban Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif from visiting one of his diplomats at a hospital in New York.

The State Department stated that Zarif is in town for the United Nations General Assembly can only attend the diploma if Iran releases a US citizen.

On Saturday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragqi told the country's official news agency IRNA that the US has taken humanitarian hostage issues for political reasons.

The United States restricted Zarif's movement in New York to just six blocks, preventing him from reaching Tehran's ambassador to the UN, Majid Taht Ravanci, who is undergoing cancer treatment.

"Foreign Minister Zarif would like to visit a colleague who is in the hospital receiving world-class care," a State Department spokesman told NBC News Saturday.

"Iran wrongly detains several US citizens for years to hurt their families and friends who they cannot freely visit. We turn to the Iranian mission that the travel request will be granted if Iran releases a US citizen . "

There are currently at least four Americans in Iran. Human rights groups and UN observers say the detentions are arbitrary and unfounded.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was America's turn to release an Iranian citizen after his country liberated Lebanon and U.S. resident Nizar Zaka in June.

President Donald Trump instead limits travel restrictions on Iranians coming to the United States while blaming the country for threatening peace and stability in the Middle East.

Associated Press contributed.


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