Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Ex-Nato chief denied entry to USA for visiting Iran

Ex-Nato chief denied entry to USA for visiting Iran

However, in an interview with the daily paper El País, Solana reportedly said that he considered the decision to deny him entry over his visit to Iran "to be more bureaucratic than political". 75-year-old Solana failed to go through the procedure of electronic authorization that is needed for visa-free entry into the United States.

Seventy-five-year-old Solana who led the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the mid and late 1990s and helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 during his tenure (1999-2009) as the foreign policy chief of the European Union, was to speak at an event at Washington's Brookings Institution but learned soon that he would not be allowed to enter the USA after trying to get an electronic visa waiver. The system allows individuals from some countries to travel to the USA without having to apply for a visa.

Solana, who has also served as Spain's foreign minister, said he had been invited to Iran in 2013 to attend President Rouhani's inauguration.

"I went there to represent all those who had been involved in the negotiations", Solana reportedly told Spanish TV.

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According to the newspaper, the ESTA system will automatically reject the statements of those citizens who last visited Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. "It's like you don't exist visa-wise, because you can't visit the country", said Solana.

Javier Solana told The New York Times that his renewal application on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was rejected for the first time.

The European Union's former High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999-2000) had his application turned down by U.S. authorities because he had previously traveled to Iran, which is included on American President Donald Trump's blacklist.

Solana hopes to have the situation resolved as quickly as possible as he has professional commitments to honour in the U.S. that include doing work for global organisations and serving as a professor at various universities.

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