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Politics

U.S. says Iran president's visa approved

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Khartoum, February 28, 2007. The White House said on Friday visas for Iran's president and other diplomats to visit the United States had been approved, disputing Iran's claim that the entry documents had not been approved. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Visas for Iran’s president and other diplomats to visit the United States had been approved, the White House said on Friday, disputing Iran’s claim that the entry documents had not been approved.

Iran said Washington had so far failed to give a visa to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so he could address the U.N. Security Council in New York when it meets to vote on new sanctions against Tehran, which could happen this weekend.

“The Iranian comment is false. As the State Department said earlier this week, the visas have been approved,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said visas for 39 Iranian officials -- including Ahmadinejad, diplomats and security guards -- were in the hands of the Iranians as of 10 a.m. local time in Bern, Switzerland.

He said because some visa forms for the air crew were incomplete, those were still being processed.

“At the end of the day, everybody gets the visas that they need in order to travel to the United Nations,” McCormack told reporters.

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