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White House: No Visa to Iranian Hostage Taker

The Obama administration officially informs Iran that Tehran's choice as its next UN ambassador will be denied a visa.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 4/11/2014, 9:43 PM

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Reuters

The Obama administration has officially informed Iran and the United Nations that the U.S. will deny a visa to Tehran's choice as its next UN ambassador because of his ties to the 1979 hostage crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Iran's government had chosen Hamid Aboutalebi, who served as a translator for radical Iranian students who stormed the American embassy in Tehran 35 years ago and took 52 diplomats hostage.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. told Iranian officials and the UN that Aboutalebi wouldn't receive a visa to work at Iran's UN mission in New York. Carney told Iran earlier this week that Aboutalebi wasn't a viable pick.

President Barack Obama is also reviewing legislation approved by Congress that would deny Aboutalebi a visa, Carney said, according to The Wall Street Journal. He did not say whether Obama would sign the bill, but said the White House shares its intent.

"We have informed the United Nations and Iran that we won't issue a visa to Mr. Aboutalebi," Mr. Carney said.

"We'll review the legislation—and we're doing that now—and we will work to address any issues related to its utility and constitutionality, but we share the intent of the bill," he added.

Iran has defended its appointment of Aboutalebi, brushing aside U.S. concerns and saying he is a veteran diplomat with a successful record and is as such qualified to serve at the UN.

Aboutalebi, who in the past served as ambassador to Belgium and Italy, maintains he had minimal involvement in the hostage-taking group.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)