Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former prime minister of Norway, was stopped and questioned for an hour at Washington Dulles Airport because he visited Iran in 2014.

Bondevik, who twice served as Norway's PM between 1997-2000 and 2001-2005, said he was stopped by customs agents and prevented to leave the airport in the wake of US President Donald Trump's travel ban.

He said he was placed in a room with travellers from the Middle East and Africa and questioned about his trip to Iran – one of the seven mainly Muslim countries included in Trump's ban – which he made in 2014 to attend a human rights conference.

His said he was pulled over by a customs agent after they spotted he had an Iranian visa stamped onto his passport.

Bondevik said the experience shows there is cause for "concern" regain Trump's presidency. However, he said the incident was prompted not by Trump's recent executive order, but a previous policy ordered under Barack Obama, which calls for extra restrictions on citizens from 38 countries — including Norway —under the US's Visa Waiver Program.

He told TV2: "I understand the fear of terror, but one should not treat entire ethnic groups in such a way. 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."

He added to ABC7: "It should be enough when they found that I have a diplomatic passport, [that I'm a] former prime minister. That should be enough for them to understand that I don't represent any problem or threat to this country and [to] let me go immediately, but they didn't."

Bondevik said he was travelling to the US attend the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton.

Kjell Magne Bondevik
Kjell Magne Bondevik appears with former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami during a press conference in Oslo Getty