Iran Insists on Pick for UN Envoy, to Challenge US Visa Denial

Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 06:22 AM

 

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran on Saturday dismissed a U.S. decision to deny a visa to its proposed new envoy to the United Nations, saying it would take up the case directly with the world body.

"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, was quoted by Iran's official IRNA news agency as saying.

The United States said on Friday it would not grant a visa to Hamid Abutalebi, citing the envoy's links to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis.

Washington objects to Abutalebi because of his suspected participation in a Muslim student group that seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The veteran diplomat has acknowledged that he acted as an interpreter for the militants who held the hostages.

U.S. President Barack Obama had come under strong domestic pressure not to allow Abutalebi into the country to take up his position in New York, raising concerns that the dispute would disrupt delicate negotiation between Tehran and six world powers including Washington over Iran's nuclear program.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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