Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 6, 2019

Newsline: Trump Turns U.N. Visas, Travel Restrictions Into Foreign-Policy Cudgel

President Donald Trump’s administration has sought myriad ways to sanction or penalize individuals and countries that are viewed as hostile to the United States, or that simply refuse to comply with U.S. demands. It reinforces the perception among some diplomats that the United States has contempt for the United Nations. Representatives from the U.N. delegations of China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, and Syria say their diplomats and support staff are subjected to increasingly restrictive travel limitations, arbitrary denial of visas and driver’s licenses, additional airport security checks, and curtailed access to banking services needed to conduct their diplomatic work and pay their dues at the U.N., according to a report by a U.N. committee that monitors U.S. dealings with the U.N.’s 192 other states. (https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/05/trump-administration-un-diplomats-united-nations-makes-life-difficult/) Those measures, they contend, violate the host country treaty, or Headquarters Agreement, signed by the United States in 1947. In many cases, the U.N.’s lawyers agree. In an Oct. 15 statement, the U.N. legal counsel told the committee that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is “concerned” by recent measures, including the rejection of a visa for a Russian national hired by the United Nations and new travel restrictions imposed on the Iranian delegation and foreign minister after Tehran refused to participate in talks with Washington. The statement said the U.N. was maintaining its long-standing position that the United States lacks legal authority to impose travel restrictions on states in retaliation for restrictions on U.S. diplomats serving in those countries.

Newsline: Three killed as Iraq protesters attack Iran consulate in Karbala

At least three Iraqi protesters have been killed during an attack on the Iranian consulate in the Shia holy city of Karbala, according to security sources and a monitor. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/iraqi-protesters-attack-iran-consulate-karbala-191103232545555.html) Demonstrators reportedly scaled the concrete barriers surrounding the building. They hung Iraqi flags and spray-painted “Karbala is free, Iran out, out!” on them, in a sign of increasing anger among some demonstrators against Tehran’s perceived interference in Iraqi politics.