The United States insisted on Wednesday that the grant of visa to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not signal a change of US policy towards Teheran.
"The decision to allow President Ahmadinejad to come to the United Nations is something that we did strictly according to our applicable laws. This in no way indicates a change in US views or policy towards the Iranian government," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at a briefing.
"The decision to allow President Ahmadinejad as Iranian head of government to travel to the United Nations is in keeping with past practice and in accordance with our obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement," McCormack said.
The spokesman said that the visa to President Ahmadinejad was issued in Bern, Switzerland on Tuesday as the Iranian president will attend UN General Assembly meeting in New York from Sept. 13- 18.
McCormack called on Iran to continue to address concerns of the United States that the Iranian leader was once involved in the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in Teheran. The student-led takeover resulted in the holding of 52 US hostages for 444 days.
According to US media reports, the United States has never turned down a visa request for a foreign head of state to attend the opening session of the UN General Assembly.