Former NATO chief denied visa waiver for United States entry

Former NATO chief denied visa waiver for United States entry”

Mr Solana last went to Iran in 2013 when he attended President Hassan Rouhani's inauguration.

USA authorities rejected Solana's application for entry through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

Former North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Javier Solana said the United States denied his entry into the country under a visa-waiver program over his visit to blacklisted Iran.

Solana, who was scheduled to give a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, was refused USA visa by an electronic authorization system because of visiting the rival state, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The Obama-era policy that led to Solana's rejection prevents citizens of 38 countries from receiving ESTAs if they visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011. "It's a bit of a mean decision", he said regarding the United States' decision to deny him the ESTA.

The rules were introduced before President Donald Trump's travel ban on the five Muslim-majority countries. The system allows individuals from some countries to travel to the USA without having to apply for a visa.

"I went as a representative for all those who negotiated", Solana said, adding that "people must go to the most complicated countries to keep going with negotiations". Referring to the fact that the restrictions for Electronic System for Travel Authorization were tightened under the Barack Obama administration, the French ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud tweeted: "Strange that our American friends are discovering only now this Obama regulation".

President Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May.

Solana said he hoped to resolve the situation soon as he had professional commitments to honour in the United States: "I need to go because I need to work there and I'm a professor at various universities".

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