What Happened: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif might cancel their trip to the U.N. General Assembly if the United States doesn't issue their visas soon, according to a Sept. 18 report by Iranian state news agency IRNA. However, it remains unclear if a potential cancellation would affect the trip by Iran's entire delegation.
Why It Matters: If Iran's national delegation still attends the U.N. General Assembly, it will likely still use the opportunity to defend its policies and hold meetings with European and Asian leaders. However, if the entire delegation cancels the visit, it could prompt a significant backlash from European countries against the United States for blocking Tehran's access to the meeting, making it more difficult for Washington to obtain support from its European allies for sanctions on Iran.
Background: The United States placed sanctions on Zarif in July for acting on behalf of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was added to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons. The U.S. State Department has said it would evaluate the specific circumstances of the issue on a case-by-case basis.
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