The White House on Thursday defended the government’s decision to allow Iran’s foreign minister to enter the country.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the that U.S. was obligated to permit Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian to attend a United Nations meeting for foreign ministers at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

‘The secretary-general called a meeting at the foreign ministerial level. He’s the foreign minister of Iran. We are the host of the U.N. We take that responsibility seriously. Do we particularly like the fact that he’s on U.S. soil? No. But unlike a lot of other countries around the world, we take those responsibilities, those rules seriously. And so we allowed him to come in to attend these meetings,’ Kirby told reporters at the White House.

Fox News Digital learned that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was coming to New York as early as Monday for a U.N. Security Council meeting and asked the State Department why he was being allowed in. While he did not attend that meeting, he arrived Wednesday night. Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency broadcast video of the minister at the Millennium Hilton hotel across from the United Nations. 

Amirabdollahian spoke at the U.N. headquarters Thursday morning. His presence on U.S. soil drew outcry from Biden administration critics who have condemned Iran’s support for terrorist groups like Hamas, which is currently at war with Israel.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amirabdollahian had taken part in at least two planning meetings in Lebanon with the terrorist groups Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad ahead of the October 7 attack on Israel, in which more than 1,400 Israelis had been savagely tortured, raped and killed. 

While the Biden administration has said Iran was not directly involved in the planning of the Hamas terror attacks into Israel, it has continued to stress that it does hold Iran responsible for funding Hamas and enabling the group. Iran reportedly maintains nearly two dozen proxy groups around the Middle East, including the Houthis in Yemen, who recently tried to launch an attack on Israel that the U.S. Navy stymied. 

Kirby said that the Biden administration hopes that foreign officials will use Amirabdollahian’s visit to the U.N. as an opportunity to confront him on Iran’s support for terrorism around the globe. 

‘We hope, quite frankly we’re certainly going to take advantage of the opportunity. We hope others at the U.N. take advantage the opportunity to ask tough questions of him and what his country is doing to support these militia groups and what his country is doing to support Hamas and Hezbollah,’ said Kirby. 

‘This is an opportunity for world leaders up there in New York to make their perspectives and their concerns known directly to the Iranian foreign minister,’ he added.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.

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