Norway’s former PM held in US over Iran visa

PM stopped on his way to prayer breakfast with Trump.

OSLO // A former prime minister of Norway said he was held at a Washington airport for one hour because of an Iranian visa in his passport, an incident he described as “provocative”.

“There is no reason to be afraid of a former head of government who has been on official visits several times to this country, including to the White House,” Kjell Magne Bondevik, 69, said on Thursday.

Mr Bondevik, who served as prime minister twice between 1997 and 2005, said immigration authorities held him on Tuesday for an hour and questioned him over an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport.

Iran is one of seven Muslim-majority countries whose nationals are temporarily banned from entering US territory in accordance with a controversial decree signed by Trump.

The head of the human rights organisation Oslo Centre, Mr Bondevik flew to the US on Tuesday to attend an annual event in Washington DC called the “National Prayer Breakfast”. US President Donald Trump also attended the event.

“It seems that if the name of this country or other countries appears, you stick out,” Mr Bondevik said, referring to Iran.

“It’s a totally unjustified suspicion. I think it was pretty provocative.”

The former Christian Democrat leader returned to Norway on Friday.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: February 4, 2017 04:00 AM

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