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US may block new Iran president from appearing at UN

[JURIST] The US State Department said Monday that it may deny a visa application [press briefing transcript] by new Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [BBC profile; official website, in Farsi] due to allegations that he was part of the 1979 hostage crisis [JURIST report]. Both a former agent [JURIST report] and Ahmadinejad himself [JURIST report] have denied the accusations, and the White House admits it has no proof [JURIST report] linking him to the crisis. A head of state has never previously been denied entry to the US for UN business; even longtime foe Fidel Castro has appeared before the body. Yasser Arafat was denied entry but because he was not representing a sovereign nation, the US Headquarters Agreement [text], which requires the US to allow officials of member states to travel to the UN for business, did not apply. The State Department says that it is reviewing Ahmadinejad's visa application, "bearing in mind our responsibilities under the Headquarters Agreement." Aljazeera has more.

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