Former NATO Secretary General was not allowed in the US

Former NATO chief Javier Solana not permitted to enter U.S

Former NATO chief Javier Solana not permitted to enter U.S

Javier Solana, former secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), has been refused a visa waiver by the USA because of his past trips to Iran, a country that Washington has blacklisted.

"It's a bit of a mean decision", Solana told Spain's Antena 3 TV channel on Monday. This, however, does not guarantee that they won't be stopped at the border, so to avoid surprises, Spaniards are advised to obtain electronic authorization to travel before boarding their flight.

Solana, who was scheduled to give a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, was refused U.S. visa by an electronic authorization system because of visiting the rival state, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported. Solana said he had gone to Iran as a representative of all sides that were party to the negotiations with Tehran, the Guardian reported.

Under the Homeland Security system, an individual who has visited any one of the seven "blacklisted countries" of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen since March 1, 2011, are barred from receiving the waiver and have to apply for a visa. It's a computer - an algorithm - and if you've been in Iran lately, they take you out of the system.

Solana was disappointed and said such an outcome was not desirable since people had to visit these countries to continue with the negotiations.

The Spanish citizen must instead apply for a full visa - a more expensive and lengthy process.

The visa rules date from the Obama administration, and are unconnected to President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, which targets Iran and five other Muslim-majority countries. "Scores of European scholars, parlementarians (sic) and business people have already faced the same constraints".

The former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief blamed "an algorithm" for the denied application, and said he needed entry to the USA because he teaches at various universities.

President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May.

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