Takht-Ravanchi was diagnosed with cancer after taking the office at the UN in New York, the Iranian foreign minister told ICANA on Monday, adding that the ambassador had been unaware of his disease in Iran.
Zarif noted that the Iranian envoy’s physician insisted on an emergency operation in the US after he was diagnosed with cancer and that the envoy is now undergoing chemotherapy at a New York hospital.
The top diplomat made the remarks after a lawmaker, Mohammad Javad Abtahi, claimed that Takht-Ravanchi must be returned to Iran over the risk of his “biological assassination in an American hospital.”
During his visit to New York, Zarif had a video chat with Takht-Ravanchi, after the US barred the top diplomat from visiting the patient.
“Thanks to technology, I was able to see and talk to my friend of 40 years and our UN ambassador Ravanchi, who is in hospital here in New York only a few blocks away,” Zarif said in a post on his Twitter account on Saturday.
The American authorities have forbidden Zarif from visiting a New York hospital to see Takht Ravanchi, who is under cancer treatment.
The US State Department has said it would allow the hospital travel request only if Iran released one of the US citizens claimed to be “wrongfully detained” in Iran.
In July, the United States imposed tight travel restrictions on Zarif before a visit that month to the United Nations, as well as on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York, which Zarif described as “basically inhuman.”