Iran: no alternative for U.N. ambassador
Iran is not considering any replacement for its newly-appointed ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi, who has been denied a visa by the US, a top Iranian diplomat says.
“We are considering no alternative to replace Mr. Aboutalebi and are pursuing the issue through legal mechanisms,” said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi on Saturday.
On Friday, the White House said it had announced to Iran and the UN that the US would not issue Aboutalebi with a visa.
The announcement came a day after the US House of Representatives unanimously approved a legislation that prevents Aboutalebi from entering the United States.
The bill, sponsored by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, was passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate through voice vote on April 7.
The legislation will be sent to the White House to be signed by President Barack Obama to take effect.
Iran has rejected the US decision as unacceptable and says it will follow up on the issue through diplomatic channels at the United Nations.
Washington has decided to deny a visa to Aboutalebi over his involvement in the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran during post-revolution incidents in 1979. Abutalebi denies any direct role in the embassy takeover, saying he worked as an interpreter while negotiations for the release of the hostages were going on.
On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian university students took over the US Embassy in Tehran, which they believed had turned into a den of espionage.
The UN regulations stipulate that each country is allowed to select its own representatives at the international organization and the US, as the host country, must grant visas to the appointed diplomats.