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Iran Slams U.S. For Barring Foreign Minister From Visiting Hospitalized Diplomat

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran has criticized the United States for barring its foreign minister, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, from visiting an Iranian diplomat hospitalized in the city.

U.S. authorities have restricted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to just six blocks in New York.

The U.S. State Department has said it would allow Zarif to visit Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi if Iran released one of several U.S. citizens it “wrongfully detained.”

Ravanchi is currently undergoing cancer treatment in a New York hospital.

The official IRNA news agency on September 28 quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi as saying Washington had taken humanitarian issues "hostage" for political causes.

Later on September 28, Zarif tweeted that he had communicated with Ravanchi by video call.

"Thanks to technology, I was able to see and talk to my friend of 40 years and our UN ambassador Ravanchi, who is in hospital here in New York only a few blocks away," he said.

The spat comes amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision over a year ago to unilaterally pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran.

The United States has imposed sanctions that have kept Iran from selling its oil abroad and have crippled its economy.

Based on reporting by AP
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