Ex Norway PM Held at Dulles Told It Was Due to Obama Rule

It all involves a 2014 trip to Iran
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2017 12:01 PM CST
Former Norway PM Detained at Dulles Thanks to Iran Trip
Brazilian Minister of Justice Tarso Genro, right, speaks with Kjell Magne Bondevik, left, founder of the Oslo Centre for Peace and Human Rights, as Candido Mendes, center, secretary-general of the Academy of Latinity, looks on, in Oslo, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Scanpix Norway, Bjoern Sigurdsoen)

(Newser) – A former prime minister of Norway was caught up in the chaos at US airports this week, though it's not clear which president's actions caused the issue. Kjell Magne Bondevik, the country's PM from 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2005, flew from Europe to DC's Dulles airport Tuesday to attend the National Prayer Breakfast—and was detained for an hour, the Guardian reports. The problem? Customs agents looked at his passport and saw he traveled to Iran in 2014. He says officials told him he was being held because of a law then-President Obama signed in 2015 that requires citizens of certain countries (including Norway) to have a visa to enter the US if they've visited specific countries (like Iran) since 2011. But there are exceptions (ABC 7 explains in greater depth), and Bondevik says he's never before experienced any trouble coming into the US with that passport stamp.

Further, his office checked with the US embassy in Oslo before this trip to ensure he would have no issues. Bondevik tells ABC 7 he possesses a diplomatic passport, which clearly states that he is the former PM of Norway. "Of course I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come into this country," he says, but "it should be enough when they found ... [I'm a] former prime minister." He says he was made to wait for 40 minutes, then questioned for 20 minutes about the Iran trip, which he took so he could speak at a human rights conference. Though Bondevik wasn't quoted mentioning President Trump by name, he had this to say: "I fear the future," he tells the Local. "This gives great cause for concern, in line with the authoritarian leaders we see controlling other major countries." (Read more Trump travel ban stories.)

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