The UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday was disrupted by a dress code dispute, as the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, was barred from entering the council chamber for wearing a traditional Iranian robe and turban. The security guards told Abdollahian that he had to wear a suit and tie, or at least a shirt and trousers, to comply with the council’s dress code.
Abdollahian, who was in New York for the UN General Assembly, expressed his shock and indignation at the dress code, which he called “discriminatory and disrespectful”. He claimed that he was proud of his cultural and religious identity, and that he had the right to wear whatever he wanted. He refused to change his clothes or to apologize for his appearance.
The absence of Abdollahian from the Security Council meeting, which was discussing the situation in Afghanistan and the nuclear deal with Iran, caused a diplomatic uproar and a delay in the proceedings. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, regretted the incident and said he would try to resolve the matter with the Iranian authorities. He stated that he respected the diversity and dignity of all the UN members, and that he hoped to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.
The Security Council’s dress code, which was established in 1946, states that the representatives of the member states must wear “appropriate and formal attire” when attending the council meetings. The dress code does not specify the exact details of the attire, but it is generally understood that it means western-style suits and ties for men, and dresses or suits for women.