US issues Iran delegates late visas
The United States has finally issued visas for Iranian delegates scheduled to attend next week's United Nations nuclear disarmament conference in New York.
The last-minute issuance came on Saturday, after officials in Tehran condemned Washington's delay in conferring visas to several members of Iran's delegation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had warned the US administration against taking the Unites Nations hostage.
"Issuing visas for officials from different countries to participate in UN assemblies is an obligation for US authorities not a prerogative," he said earlier on Saturday.
Explaining the possible reasons behind the delay in the US decision, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Washington preferred the Iranian team not to take part in the conference.
"They are concerned that we might bring up some issues regarding disarmament, regarding the commitment of countries to the NPT -- things that have not been done by those countries possessing nuclear weapons. They are afraid we might raise such issues," he told Press TV.
The Iranian delegation to New York City includes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is to address the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
President Ahmadinejad is expected to present important proposals to revise the NPT.
Tehran has been demanding a change in the articles of the NPT, arguing the 40-year-old treaty has been meaningfully undermined by countries such as the United States.