Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik was reportedly detained and questioned at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia, the United Stated, over a visit to Iran some three years ago.
Bondevik, who served as the Norwegian Prime Minister from 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2005, had arrived in the US on Tuesday to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, a yearly event held in Washington DC on the first Thursday of February.
Reports state that the former PM was held for an hour after the custom agents at the airport saw in his passport that he had visited Iran in 2014. Bondevik said that he was questioned even though his passport had clearly stated that he was a former PM of Norway, according to Guardian reports.
"Of course, I fully understand the fear of letting terrorists come into this country. It should be enough when they found that I have a diplomatic passport, [that I'm a] former prime minister," the PM told ABC7.
Bondevik said that he was placed in a room with travellers from the Middle East and Africa.
The former PM and the president of the Oslo Centre, a human rights organisation, said that the officials at the airport told him that he was being questioned because of a law introduced by the Obama administration in 2011 to block the visa waiver programme where people from at least 30 countries could walk through after showing their passport. However, Bondevik said that he had never detained before because of the Obama ruling.
"I must admit that I fear the future. There has been a lot of progress over the last 10 years, but this gives great cause for concern, in line with the authoritarian leaders we see controlling other major countries," the former Norway PM said.
Last week, US President Donald Trump had signed executive actions on extreme vetting and visa ban which apply to migrants, refugees and US legal residents — Green Card holders — from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen. There is an indefinite ban on the arrival of Syrian refugees. Trump cited "terrorism concerns" as the reason behind passing the order.