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Iran won't let Tehran mayor travel to U.S.

Tehran Mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf has been denied permission by Iran's Foreign Ministry to travel to the U.S. to be honored for improving the capital's public transportation system, an Iranian newspaper reports. He is a rival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

January 22, 2011|By Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times
(AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from Tehran — Iran's Foreign Ministry has barred the mayor of Tehran, a rival of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from traveling to the United States to be honored for improving the capital's public transportation system, a local newspaper reported Saturday.

Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf has been denied permission to attend a conference Monday of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy, reported the newspaper Tehran Emrouz, which is close to the mayor.

Tehran, along with the Chinese city of Guangzhou, the Spanish city of Leon, the Peruvian capital of Lima, and the French city of Nantes, are finalists for the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award bestowed by the international transport institute. The winner is to be announced Monday.

According to the institute's website, Tehran was lauded for its "aggressive policy to expand and implement new mass transit options," including an urban rail network that grew from 99 miles in 2009 to 147 in 2010, as well as a high-speed bus network and a fare system that integrates the two transport modes.

A report Friday by the hard-line Fars news agency said the Foreign Ministry was opposed to the trip by Qalibaf, who has been mayor of Tehran since 2005.

Mostaghim is a special correspondent.

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