US refuses visa for Iran's UN envoy choice Hamid Aboutalebi

Hamid Aboutalebi Mr Aboutalebi denies being part of the core group that took the US diplomats hostage in 1979

Related Stories

The White House has refused to issue a US visa to Iran's nomination for UN ambassador, who was involved in seizure of the US embassy in 1979.

The decision in effect bars Hamid Aboutalebi from taking up the role at the UN, which is based in New York.

Mr Aboutalebi was linked to the student group that took dozens of people hostage at the embassy in Tehran.

President Barack Obama has come under intense pressure from the US Congress not to allow him to enter the country.

Earlier this week, the White House told the Iranian government its selection of a one-time student revolutionary to be UN ambassador was "not viable".

A spokesman for Iran's mission to the UN, Hamid Babaei, described the decision as "regrettable" and said it contravened international law.

'Concern among diplomats'

The US House of Representatives and the Senate have both voted in favour of a bill barring Mr Aboutalebi from the US. It still requires the signature of the president before it can become law.

A blindfolded American hostage is paraded by his captors in the compound of the US Embassy Tehran, Iran Some 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days in Tehran

Iran says Mr Aboutalebi is one of its most experienced diplomats and stands by his nomination.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Friday the UN and Iran had been told "that we will not issue a visa to Mr Aboutalebi".

He did not say whether President Obama would sign the bill but said the president shared the sentiments of Congress.

In an interview with an Iranian news site last month, Mr Aboutalebi said he was not part of the group that took over the US embassy and was only later asked to translate for the students.

The 52 Americans were held for 444 days during the crisis.

It is believed the US has never before denied a visa for a UN ambassador and correspondents say there is concern among diplomats about the precedent that could be set.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I think taking hostages contravenes international law Iran.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Clear cut. It was the plan along. USA dictatorship of the world. US cannot dictate who will represent a country in the UN. Period. If the other countries (inc UK) don't vigorously protest then they are in on the plan and that converts it to a NWO plan. Then there is only citizens to reject this plan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    The Americans should have no right to prevent a a bona fide representative of a member country from attending meetings at the UN.
    Perhaps it's time to move the UN out of NYC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Anyone who thinks Iran is no longer a naughty boy because they have a moderate President, could do well to remember that the final decision lies with the Ayatollah!! (And to corrupt a saying), I know thy are lying, thier lips are moving!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Surely a breach of the Vienna Treaty?
    So now the US has a veto on who is the ambassador to the UN

    Now a wise step to take US

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I am not sure that banning any 'diplomat' is ever a good idea. Unless they honestly believe he is a security threat, it would seem to make more sense to me to call their bluff on this one. Diplomacy is all about compromise and reconciliation. Withholding a visa seems to be an aggressive move which will only fan the flames.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    UN should not be used for political platform to suppress any countries action. It is about time to end the UN now

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    The UN should step into the matter. The Americans cannot decide who countries can chose to represent them at the UN. Do the Americans scrutinise every nominee? This is a dangerous precedent because very soon other countries will start refusing to grant diplomats visas over flimsy excuses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    mmmh, a rather foolish decision I fear. Iran is central to redeeming the Middle East disastrous situation and the mess that we are leaving in Afghanistan. A rethink on this is required.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    No expert but NK has the nuclear weapon already made ?
    That red line is already crossed there ? where is the action ?

    Why is taking out Iran always the first option, we have a junkie with a few bombs in N K, & we are all worried about spinning centrifuges in a middle east country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    At last, the USA has grown a backbone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    It's the right decision, reflecting both America's prerogative and Iran's extreme arrogance in making such an inflammatory choice that is effectively an outrageous insult to a nation of over 310 million who have patiently hosted the UN for all these decades. The UN's role meansNYC allows all kinds of US foes to visit, but this is just too much to ask. It was a particularly vicious, unnecessary act


Page 4 of 4


More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC


  • Kinetic sculpture violinClick Watch

    The "kinetic sculpture" that can replicate digital files and play them on a violin

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.