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Iran to fight US visa rejection of controversial UN envoy

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-12

Tehran said Saturday that it would fight the US decision to not grant a visa to Iran’s newly appointed UN ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, who the White House said has been linked to the 1979 US hostage crisis.

"We have informed the United Nations and Iran that we will not issue a visa for Mr Aboutalebi," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

As the host government, the United States generally is obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at the United Nations, although there have been exceptions. The decision effectively bars Abutalebi from taking up the UN position.

The US House of Representatives and the Senate have both voted to bar Aboutalebi from the US.

"We certainly share the intent of the bill passed by Congress," Carney said.

Carney said that there was no reason to expect that the row between Tehran and Washington over the envoy would impact progress in talks between Iran and world powers, including the United States, over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Iran slams decision

Iran had slammed as unacceptable a previous US statement that the nomination of Aboutalebi was "not viable".

“We do not have a replacement for Mr Abutalebi and we will pursue the matter via legal mechanisms anticipated in the United Nations,” Abbas Araghchi, a senior foreign ministry official and top nuclear negotiator, was quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency as saying.

Abutalebi, who has served as Iran's ambassador to Italy, Belgium and Australia, was chosen to replace Iran's outgoing ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee.

Aboutalebi has insisted he was not part of the hostage-taking in November 1979, when a Muslim student group seized the US embassy after the overthrow of the pro-Western shah.

He has, however, acknowledged that he served a limited role as a translator for the students, who took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

It is believed that Washington has never denied a visa for a UN ambassador, although Tehran withdrew its nominee once in the early 1990s.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

 

Date created : 2014-04-11

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