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22:28 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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U.S. Denies Iranian Officials Visas for UN General Assembly Meet

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The U.S. has denied entry visas to Iranian officials, including two ministers, expecting to attend next week’s United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian Fars news agency reported.

The U.S. has denied entry visas to Iranian officials, including two ministers, expecting to attend next week’s United Nations General Assembly, the Iranian Fars news agency reported.

The U.S. State Department has refrained from issuing visas for 20 officials of the 160 people for whom the Iranian government had requested entry visas two months ago.

Many Iranian officials are subject to travel bans under sanctions over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Fars did not name the two ministers who were denied visas to attend the UN General Assembly meeting but said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie.

Ahmadinejad is expected to give his final speech at the UN General Assembly meeting on Wednesday. Since he took office, Ahmadinejad has attended all annual UN General Assembly meetings.

Over 150 security officers will guarantee Ahmadinejad's security during his stay in New York.

Tehran is currently under several packages of Western-backed sanctions, including EU-brokered oil embargo that came into effect on July 1.

The United States, Israel and a number of Western European countries suspect Iran of running a nuclear weapons program under the guise of a civil nuclear project. Iran denies this and maintains its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful.