Former Norway PM held at Washington airport over 2014 visit to Iran

The Guardian reports: A former prime minister of Norway has spoken of his shock after he was held and questioned at Washington Dulles airport because of a visit to Iran three years ago.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, who served as prime minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and 2001-05, flew into the US from Europe on Tuesday afternoon to attend this week’s National Prayer Breakfast.

He was held for an hour after customs agents saw in his diplomatic passport that he had been to Iran in 2014. Bondevik said his passport also clearly indicated that he was the former PM of Norway.

“Of course I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come into this country,” he told ABC7. “It should be enough when they found that I have a diplomatic passport, [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 and [to] let me go immediately, but they didn’t.”

Bondevik, who is the president the Oslo Centre, a human rights organisation, said he was placed in a room with travellers from the Middle East and Africa who were also facing extra scrutiny.

He said he was ordered to wait for 40 minutes, before being questioned for another 20 minutes about his trip to Iran, which he had taken to speak at a human rights conference.

“I was surprised, and I was provoked,” he said. “What will the reputation of the US be if this happens not only to me, but also to other international leaders?” [Continue reading…]

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, U.S. border agents at a land crossing in Quebec were asking Canadians, ‘Are you anti- or pro-Trump?‘ Those saying they planned to attend the Women’s March were denied entry. If Alexandre Bissonnette, a vocal Trump supporter, had tried to visit the U.S., presumably he would have had no trouble crossing the border. In that event, he might well have carried out an attack on a mosque in the U.S. instead of going on the rampage in Quebec City.

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