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Former Norwegian prime minister delayed at US airport over visit to Iran in 2014

Kjell Magne Bondevik is a former two-term prime minister of US ally Norway.

kjell Kjell Magne Bondevik Source: WJLA

A FORMER PRIME Minister of Norway was held at Washington DC’s international airport for about an hour, reportedly because he travelled to Iran in recent years.

Kjell Magne Bondevik served as leader of the Scandinavian country between 1997 and 2000 and again between 2001 and 2005.

Local TV station WJLA reports that Bondevik flew into Dulles International Airport last Tuesday afternoon but was not immediately allowed to leave by customs agents when they noticed the stamp of the Middle Eastern country on his passport.

The incident is not typical of those being reported in the wake of Donald Trump’s travel ban being enacted by executive order, in that Bondevik is not a citizen of any of the seven nations currently covered by the ban.

In fact, Bondevik was informed during questioning by customs officials that his detention in fact related to an order by former president Barack Obama in 2015, which saw extra immigration restrictions placed on 38 countries, including Norway – countries which normally have a visa-waiver in operation for when its citizens visit the US.

That law was introduced in the wake of terrorist attacks in California and Paris.

Norway is officially an ally of the US.

Bondevik claimed that he had cleared his American visit with the US embassy in Norway’s capital Oslo in advance of his trip. His journey to Iran meanwhile was an official engagement in his role as president of human rights organisation the Oslo Center.

“I was surprised, and I was provoked,” he told WJLA.

This is the first time this was a problem. What will the reputation of the US be if this happens not only to me, but also to other international leaders?

The former prime minister was in Washington to attend the National Prayer Breakfast held yesterday, which was addressed by Donald Trump.

“Of course I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come,” Bondevik said.

It should be enough when they found… (that I’m a) former prime minister. That should be enough for them to understand that I don’t represent any problem or threat to this country.

Read: Louvre attack was “terrorist in nature”, says France’s Prime Minister

Read: North Korean spy chief sacked and officials executed over ‘abuse of power’

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