The Iranian Foreign Ministry has issued a response to the visa requests of three US Republican lawmakers who had wanted to travel to Iran to monitor Tehran’s compliance with last year’s historic nuclear agreement.
“In sum, we consider your visa request to have been a publicity stunt and not an appropriate request to visit a sovereign country; and it has, and will continue to be, treated in that spirit,” said a letter published by the office of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday.
In February, three US lawmakers, Mike Pompeo, Lee Zeldin, and Frank LoBiondo, requested to visit Iran in order to inspect its nuclear sites. All three were vigorous opponents of the nuclear deal.
“Despite what you seem to presume, members of the US Congress do not get to dictate the policies of other countries. This clearly applies to Iranian visa policies. Bear in mind that as members of the US Congress you are not a global authority."
The letter noted that according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “is the sole body competent for monitoring” the implementation of the agreement’s nuclear provisions.
“In the modern era, visits to sites or parliamentary or other delegations to monitor elections are made upon invitations and through bilateral agreements between sovereign states or based on reciprocal arrangements, and not upon unilateral demands by self-arrogating individuals or parliamentarians,” the letter read.
“From the time when the manufactured ‘nuclear crisis’ has been settled through the JCPOA, tens of thousands of tourists, academics, investors, students and businesspeople from around the world -- including many Americans -- have obtained visas and traveled to Iran without any delay or complication.
“But they have been able to do so by making requests consistent with the relevant regulations of the host country and in the appropriate respectful manner and not in the completely inappropriate way you have demanded to visit Iran and interfere in what is of no relevance to your official functions. We doubt that any self-respecting country would grant a visa under such circumstances,” read another part of the letter.
After Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started implementing the JCPOA on January 16, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council, and the US were lifted. Iran, in return, has put some limitations on its nuclear activities. The nuclear agreement was signed on July 14, 2015 following nearly a decade of on-and-off intensive talks.