A former prime minister of Norway says he was stopped for questioning at Dulles airport in Virginia because his passport showed that he had traveled to Iran, but told his experience was not prompted by the Trump administration’s new executive order on immigration.
Kjell Magne Bondevik told local news station WJLA that he was flying in from Europe but was stopped, despite having a diplomatic passport, because of a 2014 trip to Iran.
“It should be enough when they found that I have a diplomatic passport, [that I’m a] former prime minister,” he said. “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 told WJLA that he had to wait for 40 minutes and that he was questioned for 20 minutes about the Iran visit, where he spoke at a human rights conference.
It does not appear that Bondevik was stopped due to President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Bondevik said customs agents told him that he was stopped due to the Obama administration’s changes to the U.S. visa waiver program, which require extra scrutiny for those who have recently traveled to the same seven countries covered by Trump’s order.
Bondevik told WJLA that he had contacted the U.S. Embassy in Oslo before leaving, and was told he had the proper paperwork to enter the United States.