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Former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, a Lutheran pastor, has been denied a visa to China for a World Council of Churches meeting.
The refusal of Swiss authorities to grant a visa to a member of the Lutheran World Federation Council imperils the global body's ability to function.
Three church conferences say foreign delegates' visas were denied by US officials, meaning some nations lacked representation at global assemblies.
The United States has been criticised for denying visas to 10 per cent of the voting delegates due to attend a global meeting of Reformed churches taking place in the state of Michigan.
Iran has refused to renew the visa of a British journalist based in Tehran, forcing him to leave the country. They have aid they will accept a "suitable replacement". The move reflects continuing tension between Iran and the West.