Iran lodges complaint against United States over U.N. envoy ban: IRNA

DUBAI Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:49pm EDT

Iran's delegation seats remain empty in the UN general assembly in New York, in this September 24, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

Iran's delegation seats remain empty in the UN general assembly in New York, in this September 24, 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has complained to the United Nations about the United States refusing to grant a visa to its newly appointed U.N. ambassador over his role in the 1979 hostage crisis, state news agency IRNA said on Sunday.

Hamid Abutalebi has said that he acted only as a translator during the 444-day crisis when radical Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted by IRNA as saying that the issue had been "referred to the UN committee".

"The official mechanisms for following up the complaint have been activated and we are going to follow up the case," she said.

Iran had said on Saturday it would take action against Washington at the United Nations over the matter.

Since an uproar among former U.S. hostages and U.S. lawmakers over Abutalebi broke out, Tehran has steadfastly stuck by its choice, describing Aboutalebi as a seasoned diplomat.

He has served as Iran's ambassador to Italy, Belgium and Australia, and is not known for being a hardliner or for having staunchly anti-Western views.

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

The U.S. government can bar U.N. diplomats who are considered national security threats, but this potentially precedent-setting step could invite criticism that it is using its position as host nation to improperly exert political influence.

(Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Louise Ireland)

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Comments (6)
bigturkey wrote:
Obama and Kerry are really off base on this one. The political importance of the U.S. in world eyes is dwindling. Needless provocations like this are going to cost us part of what little influence we’ve got left.

Apr 14, 2014 7:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Zymbat wrote:
Unfortunately, Obama’s hands are tied on this one. I suspect that the Iranian will be eventually be allowed in. This initial delay is probably just for show.

Its understandable, that people are upset, but if you want to be the host nation for the UN, well, it comes with its downsides as well. But to not allow this guy in (regardless of how much folks may think he is scum) would be a mistake.

Apr 14, 2014 8:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
branchltd wrote:
I favor sending the UN to Iran and taking the US out of it.

Apr 14, 2014 8:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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