Spokesman lashes out at Washington over visa denial to Iran’s envoy

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht criticized the US for its refusal to issue visa for Iran’s new Ambassador to the UN Hamid Aboutalebi, and underlined that Tehran’s caretaker for the post has taken the country’s seat at the UN for now.

“Our seat at the UN is not vacant and we have introduced a caretaker and he is carrying out the job and we are defending the interests and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran on that stage,” Nobakht said in his weekly press conference in Tehran on Wednesday.

“Of course, the Americans have taken an uncivil and illogical act as they are required to accept the representatives of countries, and we will adopt legal measures in this regard,” he added.

“The UN is not owned by the US and it shouldn’t prevent the presence of Iran’s representative,” Nobakht underscored.

His remarks came after the US House of Representatives in April unanimously approved a legislation that would prevent Aboutalebi from entering the US. The US Senate had earlier approved the legislation in a voice vote.

US President Barack Obama also singed the legislation.

Washington said it was denying Aboutalebi a visa because he was involved in the takeover of the former US embassy in Tehran during post-revolution incidents in 1979. Aboutalebi, however, said, he worked merely as an interpreter while negotiations were going on for the release of the embassy staff.

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.

Also in April, Iran’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam Hossein Dehqani deplored the US move, saying it weakened the UN’s status.

“This move is in contravention of the host country’s commitments regarding the headquarters agreement with the UN and other diplomatic laws,” Dehqani said in a meeting with UN Undersecretary General for Legal Affairs Miguel Soares.

He underlined that the US move would negatively influence the activities of the member-states and it would undermine the UN’s status.

Dehqani noted that Iran would certainly pursue the row in the Host Committee of the UN.

Soares, for his part, said that he has studied Iran’s letter of protest and the UN will take appropriate action in response.

By Fars News Agency


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