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World
04 Feb 2017

Former Norwegian PM detained at US airport over Iran visit

Former Norwegian PM briefly detained at US airport

Kjell Magne Bondoevik, who served as Norway's prime minister from 1997-2000 and 2001-05, said he was detained at an airport in the US earlier this week.

Bondevik said he was traveling on his diplomatic passport and was held for around an hour because he visited Iran in 2014.

He said his passport indicates that he is a former prime minister.

In context

Former Norwegian PM briefly detained at US airport

Trump connection?

US officials say detention not linked to Trump ban

Bondoevik said US immigration officials told him his detention was not related to President Donald Trump's temporary ban on Iranian nationals.

Instead, they cited a 2015 law placing extra restrictions on countries listed in the US visa waiver programme.

Bondoevik said he's travelled to the US with the same passport before Trump's immigration ban but had no issues whatsoever.

Why Bondoevik visited Iran in 2014

Bondoevik had visited Iran in 2014 to speak against extremism at an international conference on behalf of The Oslo Centre, a human rights organization of which he is president.

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Bondoevik speaks

Bondoevik said he was "surprised" and "provoked"

"I was surprised, and I was provoked," Bondoevik said, suggesting that Iran's mention had made him "stick out" to immigration officials.

"Of course I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come into this country," he acknowledged.

However, he felt the fact that he held a diplomatic passport and was a former PM who visited the White House should've proved he's no threat.

Bondoevik was visiting US to attend prayer meeting

Bondoevik was flying to America to attend the national prayer breakfast event in Washington, DC, which interestingly, was also attended by President Donald Trump.

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