Iran: Barring Our Ambassador is ‘Regrettable’

April 12, 2014  

Iran said on Friday that it “regretted” the United States’ decision not to issue a visa to Tehran’s choice as its next UN ambassador, but noted that the decision would not affect the nuclear talks currently underway between Iran and six world powers.

The U.S. decision to not issue a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi is “regrettable,” a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Friday, according to the Reuters news agency.

“It is a regrettable decision by the U.S. Administration which is in contravention of international law, the obligation of the host country and the inherent right of sovereign member states to designate their representatives to the United Nations,” spokesman Hamid Babaei said in a statement.

Another Iranian official who declined to be named told Reuters the White House’s decision would not affect Tehran’s nuclear talks with world powers.

The official added it would be for the Iranian foreign ministry to “take the necessary measures” in any official response by the Islamic Republic to the U.S. decision to bar Aboutalebi.

Aboutalebi served as a translator for radical Iranian students who stormed the American embassy in Tehran 35 years ago and took 52 diplomats hostage, eliciting criticism from the Americans.

On Thursday, Congress backed a bill that would bar Aboutalebi from stepping on U.S. soil, approving the legislation unanimously four days after a similar vote in the Senate. 

On Friday, 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.

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.)

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