Iran FM: US Travel Restrictions on Diplomats ‘Basically Inhuman’

Diplomats, families restricted to travel between UN, mission, and airport

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the US for imposing new travel controls on Iranian diplomats and their family members restricting their ability to travel around New York City.

The restrictions, which apply to Zarif, 13 Iranian members of the Permanent Mission to the UN, and all of their family members, allow them to travel only between the UN, the Iranian mission, the ambassador’s house, and the JFK airport. They are also given a very small area around Queensboro Plaza to visit.

Zarif says it doesn’t really matter for him personally, because in his rare visits to the US he only ever goes to those buildings anyhow. He added that subjecting permanent mission diplomats and all their family members, who like in New York City are in “basically inhuman conditions” by being stuck in tiny areas of the city.

This is a severe restriction compared to other nations the US doesn’t like, as officials from North Korea, Syria, and Cuba are all given an entire 25 miles radius around Manhattan to travel through. The UN has expressed concerns about the US putting so much restriction on Iran.

The State Department dismissed the complaints, saying what they did is consistent with their obligations under the 1947 agreement with the UN.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.