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U.S. immigration law allows broad rejection of visas to foreigners and, in many cases, authorities do not have to give an explicit reason for why other than to deem the applicant a threat to national security or American policy.

The law bars foreigners whose entry or activity in the U.S. would “have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.”

It also bars people who have engaged in terrorist activity, which the law defines as including seizing and detaining others; threatening to kill, injure or continue to detain them; and violent attacks on internationally protected persons such as diplomats and other agents of the U.S. government.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said late Thursday that every U.N. member state can name the ambassador of their choice to the United Nations. He added that the exchange between Iran and the United States on this subject was a bilateral matter and that the U.N. hoped it would be resolved.

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Associated Press writers Julie Pace, Matthew Lee and Lara Jakes in Washington, Lee Keath in Cairo and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.