Obama signs law aimed at blocking Iran's U.N. envoy

Former U.S. embassy workers held hostage in Iran say Hamid Abutalebi must be banned from entering U.S. territory. (Photo courtesy of Radio Free Europe)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed a law aimed at blocking the entry into the United States of Iran diplomat suspected of involvement in the 1979 hostage-taking

 The unusual legislation bars anyone from entering the U.S. as a U.N. representative if they've engaged in espionage or terrorist activity and still pose a threat to U.S. security. It's aimed at blocking Hamid Aboutalebi. He's linked to the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to AP.

Obama says he shares lawmakers' concern that terrorists could use diplomatic cover to enter the U.S. But he says he will treat the legislation as advisory out of concern it could interfere with his discretion to receive ambassadors.

The White House has said Aboutalebi was an unacceptable choice. The administration has refused to grant him a visa.

[With AP]

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43