US Congress passes ban on Iran envoy to UN

Photo: US Congress passes ban on Iran envoy to UN / Politics

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 11

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

The US Congress has passed a bill that would ban Iran's pick for UN envoy, Hamid Abutalebi, from entering the United States.

The House of Representatives passed the measure on April 10, unanimously two days after the Senate approved it, BBC News reported.

The bill also should be signed by the US president, Barack Obama, before it comes into action.

The White House spokesman Jay Carney said on April 8 that they have informed Iran that the new envoy, Hamid Abutalebi was "not viable."

However The White House has not taken a position on the bill yet.

Aboutalebi is accused of having ties with the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States.

Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days (Nov. 4, 1979-Jan. 20, 1981), after a group of Iranian students supporting the Iranian Revolution took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Iranian officials have criticized the US approach towards the issue and say that the U.S. administration should issue a visa to Aboutalebi.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that blocking Aboutalebi from entering the U.S. would be "unacceptable."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on April 9 that Aboutalebi "is the choice of the Islamic Republic for representing the country in the U.N., and he is one of Iran's most qualified diplomats."

She underlined that Aboutalebi had once been granted a U.S. visa to go to the United Nations in the 1990's.

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