Obama signs law to bar Iran's UN envoy

Obama signs law to bar Iran’s UN envoy

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:30:46 GMT

US President Barack Obama has signed a law that effectively bars Iranian diplomat Hamid Aboutalebi from serving as Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Obama approved the unusual legislation on Friday that had already been passed by the US Congress.

Washington had announced that it would not grant a visa to Aboutalebi, saying the diplomat was involved in the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran during post-revolution incidents in 1979.

Iran has rejected the US decision as unacceptable and says it will follow up on the issue through diplomatic channels at the UN.

The Islamic Republic says Washington’s refusal is against international law and the UN Charter. Tehran has filed a request for a special UN Committee meeting over the issue.

Iran also announced that it’s not considering a replacement nominee for the crucial post.

In an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, an American political commentator said that the US has no right to refuse to issue a visa to Aboutalebi.

“The 1947 agreement between the United States and the United Nations clearly states that the host country, the United States, has no right to deny access to the United Nations” to representatives of UN member states, Phil Wilayto said, adding, “So they are in complete violation of the legal agreement with the United Nations.”

“However, when that agreement was made back in 1947, the US added a little addendum that said, WELL, IN THE CASE OF SECURING the national security of the United States exception could be made,” he stated.

“Finally, they never tried to use that addendum… and that was not accepted by the United Nations, but this is the first time in the history of the United Nations that the US has ever denied a visa to a foreign ambassador,” Wilayto said, referring to the agreement which reads, “The federal, state or local authorities of the United States shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from the headquarters district of representatives of (UN) Members.”

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.” Documents found at the compound later corroborated the claims by the students.

UN regulations stipulate that each country is allowed to select its own representatives at the international organization and the US must grant visas to the appointed diplomats.

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