US Refuses Visa to Iranian Diplomat Over Security Risk

World | April 12, 2014, Saturday // 11:19
Bulgaria: US Refuses Visa to Iranian Diplomat Over Security Risk Iranian diplomat Hamid Aboutalebi. Photo by

The US has refused a visa to the new Iranian envoy to the UN in New York, due to links to the group that took over the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

"We have informed the United Nations and Iran that we will not issue a visa" to Hamid Aboutalebi, who was Iran's choice for its next ambassador to the UN, White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "The selection was not viable."

Iran's UN mission spokesman Hamid Babaei called the decision to ban Hamid Aboutalebi "regrettable", but did not specify any action Tehran might take, the BBC reports.

The US accuses Aboutalebi of links to the group that seized the US embassy in 1979, an incident that soured ties between the two countries for decades. However, the diplomat claims he only acted as a translator for the group.

Congress passed a bill last week that would allow the US to refuse an ambassadorial selection if the candidate posed a security risk.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif condemned the move by Congress.

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Tags: Iran, US, security risk, embassy, visa, diplomat, ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, UN
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