The White House says it has informed the United Nations and Iran that the United States will not issue a visa to the man Iran wants to be its new U.N. ambassador.
American officials oppose the selection of Hamid Abutalebi because of his alleged involvement in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. He was a member of the Muslim student group that held 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.
Abutalebi says his involvement in the group Muslim Students Following the Imam's Line was limited to translation and negotiation. The veteran diplomat has been Iran's ambassador to Belgium, the European Union, Italy and Australia.
White House spokesman Jay Carney Friday called Abutalebi's selection "not viable," and said Washington has made this clear to Iran.
The hostage crisis was a key moment in the lives of many senior Iranian political figures and led the two nations to cut diplomatic relations.
On Friday, Iran's mission to the United Nations called the U.S. decision regrettable, saying it goes against international law and the right of sovereign states to designate their U.N. representatives.