Obama signs law blocking Iran's envoy to UN

Hamid Aboutalebi has acknowledged acting as an interpreter for the group that took part in the 1979 US Embassy takeover.

    US President Barack Obama has signed legislation aimed at blocking Iran's chosen ambassador to the United Nations, but says he is only treating it as guidance.

    The unusual legislation bars anyone from entering the US as a UN representative if they have engaged in espionage or what it calls "terrorist activity" and still pose a threat to US security, the AP news agency reported.

    The measure is aimed at preventing Hamid Aboutalebi from entering the US. The Iranian government's preferred envoy is accused of involvement in the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran.

    Obama says he shares politicians' concerns that "terrorists" could use diplomatic cover to enter the US, but he says he will treat the legislation as advisory out of concern it could interfere with his ability to receive ambassadors.

    The White House has said Aboutalebi was an unacceptable choice and the Obama administration has refused to grant him a visa.

    The veteran diplomat has admitted that he acted as an interpreter for the group which held the hostages.

    Iran dismissed the decision to deny Aboutalebi a visa, saying it would take up the case directly with the UN.

    "We do not have a replacement for Mr Abutalebi and we will pursue the matter via legal mechanisms anticipated in the United Nations," Abbas Araghchi, a senior Foreign Ministry official and top nuclear negotiator, was quoted by Iran's official IRNA news agency as saying.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.