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April 15, 2014

Iran Asks UN to Address US Refusal to Issue Envoy Visa

by VOA News

Iran is asking a United Nations committee to hold a special meeting on the refusal of the United States to issue a visa to Iran's choice for its ambassador to the U.N.

American officials object to Iran's selection of Hamid Abutalebi because of his alleged involvement in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week the choice is "not viable."

In a letter Monday, Iran's mission to the U.N. said that decision has "negative implications" diplomatically and creates a dangerous precedent. It says denying a visa to a U.N. member state goes against the U.N. charter and international law.

Iran wants the U.N. Committee on Relations with the Host Country to urgently address the issue.

Cyprus heads the committee, and Reuters quoted its U.N. ambassador, Nicholas Emiliou, saying Monday that a meeting will likely take place next week.

Iranian officials have said they have no plans to name a new diplomat in place of Abutalebi.

He was a member of the Muslim student group that held 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days, but says his involvement was limited to translation and negotiation.

The Iranian hostage crisis led the United States and Iran to cut diplomatic relations.