Iran sticks to its pick for U.N. envoy

The White House rejected Iran’s choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as U.N. envoy because he took part in the 1979 hostage crisis

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A top Iranian official said Saturday that Tehran was not considering a replacement nominee for its prospective U.N. envoy who has been denied a U.S. visa.

“We are not considering an alternative pick,” Abbas Araqchi, a senior Foreign Ministry official and top nuclear negotiator, told Mehr news agency, referring to Hamid Aboutalebi, the Islamic republic’s choice for ambassador to the United Nations.

On Friday, the White House said Aboutalebi was in the student group that took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and will not be issued a visa to allow him to perform his duties as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Agence France-Presse reported.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “Our position is that we will not be issuing him a visa.”

President Barack Obama’s administration had previously said only that it opposed the nomination of Abutalebi. U.S. officials had hoped the issue could be resolved by Tehran simply withdrawing the nomination.

That did not happen, so the U.S. made the unusual, if not unprecedented, move to not grant a visa to a U.N. ambassadorial nominee.

On Friday, an Iranian official - who declined to be identified - told Reuters that Washington’s decision will not affect Tehran’s nuclear talks with world powers.

The official said it would be for the Iranian foreign ministry to “take the necessary measures” in any formal response by the Islamic Republic to Washington’s decision to bar Abutalebi.

But the U.S. move “will have no impact on our talks with the P5+1,” the official added, using a phrase that refers to the six powers involved in negotiating with Tehran.

(With AFP)

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