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Iran official: Rep. Lee Zeldin’s visa request ‘propaganda’

An Iranian official has criticized a request by

An Iranian official has criticized a request by Rep. Lee Zeldin and two other Republican congressmen for visas to visit Iran. Feb. 8, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

An Iranian government spokesman this week criticized the request by Rep. Lee Zeldin and two other Republican congressmen for visas to visit Iran as “a political-propaganda act,” but said those applications still are under review, according to an Iranian newspaper.

“Iran opposes any foreign interference in its national affairs,” said Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.

But he added that the special committee responsible for reviewing visa requests and entries into the country will review the applications of the three American politicians.

Ansari made his comments at his weekly news conference Monday, according to a report Tuesday in the Tehran Times, which said it was founded as an English language voice of the Islamic revolution, but insists its not a government newspaper.

Zeldin (R-Shirley) joined Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) as they submitted their requests and a letter to Iran’s leaders seeking meetings a week ago at the Iranian Interest Section offices in Washington.

Zeldin said the section’s deputy director told the congressmen they would get an initial response by Monday. Zeldin on Wednesday said they are still waiting.

The congressmen are critics of the deal between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the European Union with Iran to limit its nuclear development in return for easing of economic sanctions on Tehran.

If they are allowed to visit, the congressmen want to see Iran’s nuclear facilities, visit with detained Americans, meet with Iranian officials about their recent ballistic missile tests and the Jan. 12 detention of U.S. sailors, and observe Iran’s Feb. 26 elections.

“If Iran refuses to permit Americans to validate that Iran is honoring its commitments, the American people and the international business community have reason to doubt the seriousness and long-term viability of this deal,” the congressmen said in a joint statement Wednesday.

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