Iran denies entry to Sen. Kerry

Iranian legislators on Sunday decided to not allow a visit from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), according to Iranian media.

"Members of the Iranian parliament's Foreign Relations Committee (a subcommittee of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission) voiced opposition to the request after studying the issue," Hassan Ebrahimi, head of the committee, told the semi-official Fars News Agency.

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Several Iranian news outlets reported last week that Kerry had submitted an official request to visit Tehran in an emissary role.

Kerry spokesman Frederick Jones told the Wall Street Journal before Christmas, though, that no trip had been scheduled. "Is he planning now on going to Iran? The answer is no," said Jones.

When asked Sunday if Kerry had filed a travel request as claimed or if Iran had taken pre-emptive action against talk of a visit, Jones told The Hill, "John Kerry has no plans to travel to Iran."

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast said last week that "legislative officials are studying the case and they are in charge for providing a response."

On Saturday, Iranian legislators stepped up the rhetoric against the news that Kerry was considering traveling to Tehran with the blessing of the White House.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has no plans to negotiate with any American official, unless the country (the U.S.) changes its policies," member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Zohreh Elahian said, according to Fars News Agency.

"Iran-US relations are not under such conditions that could produce results through a number of non-targeted meetings and talks," rapporteur of the parliament's Nationals Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali told Fars on Saturday in response to a question about Kerry wishing to visit Iran.

"Americans are more seeking to exploit the media and means of propaganda in a bid to gain an advantage," Jalali said. "...A number of the high-ranking officials in the present U.S. administration sent letters for talks with Iranian officials when they served as senators.

"The bills ratified in the US legislative bodies against Iran are examples of paradoxical behavior which we are witnessing from American statesmen towards Iran, and indicate that their policies on Iran are not honest," he added.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m.