Iran: US travel restrictions on diplomats 'inhuman'

Iran: US travel restrictions on diplomats 'inhuman'
© ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday called new U.S. travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York “basically inhuman."

“It is certainly not a friendly action. It puts the members of the mission and their families under basically inhuman conditions," Zarif told reporters at the United Nations, according to Reuters. "But for me it’s fine because I don’t have any work anywhere other than the three buildings.” 

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Reuters reported late Tuesday that the U.S. sent a note to the Iran mission to the United Nations tightening travel restrictions for more than a dozen Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York.

According to the note, reviewed by the outlet, Iranian diplomats may only travel between the United Nations building, the Iranian U.N. mission, the Iranian U.N. ambassador’s residence and John F. Kennedy International Airport. There is also an exception for six blocks surrounding Queensboro Plaza in Queens; Reuters reported the purpose of that exception was unclear.

The note, dated July 12, said the the travel rules, which are open-ended, apply to “all members of the permanent mission of Iran to the United Nations, their immediate family members, and representatives of the Iranian government to the United Nations.”

According to the note, diplomats require a waiver from the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions for any other travel. Such requests must be made at least five days in advance, Reuters reported. Under the restrictions, Iran's U.N. mission is also required to turn in residential and hotel accommodations for approval.

The new restrictions come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran dating back to President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal last year.

Tensions between the two countries have flared since the Trump administration pulled out of the deal, but have escalated particularly in recent weeks. Iran announced earlier this month that it would increase its uranium enrichment and stockpiles; a nuclear monitor confirmed earlier this month that Iran had surpassed enrichment levels agreed to in the deal.