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

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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.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    Imagine for a second: there's just been a world war. Britain (or Paraguay if you're reading from Paraguay) emerges as overwhelmingly the most powerful country in the world. It decides to set up an organisation to try to reduce the chances of global conflict and give other countries a say. It provides a quarter of the funding. Imagine the howls every time a decision went against it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    How can you move forward if you can not let go of the pass.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    Fairly hypocritical of the yanks if you ask me - after all, how many IRA terrorists have they allowed in? How much money has flowed out of the US and into Ireland? All water under the bridge ...until it's them affected and not us. They made their bed, now they should lie in it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    Let's not forget that this 1979 hostage crisis was the end of a regime installed by the USA in 1953, which was responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses of the time. The democratically elected president was overthrown in a coup by the CIA and a west-friendly shah was installed - all so we could keep taking their oil.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    It's odd how people talk about the UN. In Britain, we're seriously thinking of leaving the EU. We say it's undemocratic, we pay too much, it's corrupt, we want to be governed from closer to home. But half of those commenting here have a touching faith in the UN. Countries join international organisations out of self-interest, hopefully enlightened.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 67.

    ahh...the comments have now been taken out!....well done BBC.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 66.

    I see the dead hand of Netanyahu behind this decision.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 65.

    Err??...are you allowed to use that card when you submitted the building under a Universal Entry premise?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 64.

    Iran has yet to prove its change of heart against the West is real. Doing this suggests its the same old power struggle hence casts Iran's 'reform' as false. Too many posts on today's HYS are just anti USA rather than looking at the reality. This man cannot be the only candidate for the post so ask yourself, why did Iran put him forward??

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 63.

    From Military coups engineered against democratically elected PM,Arming Iraq with weapons (inc Chemical) to invade Iran, to destroying a passenger airplane killing all 274 Iranian passengers, to 35 years of illegal & unjust sanctions. USA has a lot to answer for themselves and it stinks of hypocrisy for US trying to ban an envoy, who was a translator for the hostage keepers

    US hypocrisy at best.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 62.

    This is an immature political decision by the US administration which has no moral significance. The US has no problem issuing visas for the most vile of people as long as they are 'open' to US influence.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 61.

    The US provides the venue and facilitates the work of the UN. I do not consider that it has the right to refuse a visa to a member countries choice of ambassador unless they consider him to be a security threat. I understand that in this case Congress is juat being awkward and waving a big stick. Iran now seems to be making significant steps to making amends.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 60.

    @49 onthebeach

    "..... Because it was the US embassy and US citizens held hostage for over a year."

    …by the same reasoning, the U.S. should have their ambassadors sent home from a great many countries. Not condoning the Theran embassy siege for one second, but 1 year as a hostage compares favourably to 10 yrs in Guantanamo without trial.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 59.

    @ 43: fair point. I'm out of date. Nevertheless, the basic point stands. Countries like the US, Russia and China support the UN because they think it's in their interests to do so. If they didn't, they wouldn't.

    Would you pay a quarter of the funding for something you didn't think was basically in your interests?

    There is an element of realpolitik to all this.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 58.

    Shame we don't have the bottle to do the same to the terrorists that want to come here.
    Its a great idea, instead of spending £ms on court cases and security measures just don't let the terrorists into the country......simple!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 57.

    This was a SERIOUS breach of International diplomacy, at the time. Why are people here so willing to condone that, yet criticize America for reacting in this way. Iran is just trying to push this for it's own aims, i.e to show America is powerless to avoid the whims of Tehran. Well done, USA. This was a calculated move by the Iranians. Why didn't they pick someone less contentious.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    perhaps the UN if it has the guts can refuse to accept John Kerry and William Hague they have both one way or another supported terrorist groups in Syria for example. This is nothing more than naked bullying arrogance on the part of the USA again.Time to move the UN Headquarters to somewhere neutral and more civilized, Switzerland for example.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 55.

    The embassy siege was an appalling crime against international law, hostages for 444 days and likely to be executed at any time. Embassy's are excluded from combat because their communications could prevent the death of millions of civilians. The US should have let him in, arrested him, put him on trial and applied the death penalty if found guilty. No wonder they refused his visa!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 54.

    Commentators here are wrong when they suggest that the US is barred from denying visas to UN diplomats. This is expressly allowed under the UN Headquarters Agreement. That the US has never before done so does not mean that it has not retained this reserve power.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 53.

    again the US trying to show that they control UN. Luckily I'm old enough to know what exactly happened. The US/UK engineered military coup against Mossadeg, (an elected PM of Iran) who wanted to nationalize the oil, from which US and UK were profiting from.

    What about Guantanamo US? where people are kept as 'hostages' for over 444 days, without a charge?

    US is just the biggest hypocrite nation.

 

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