Iran’s new ambassador to the U.N. held Americans hostage in 1979

BY Lara Jakes, Associated Press  April 2, 2014 at 4:17 PM EDT

A contact sheet shows images of U.S. President Jimmy Carter addressing the nation about the Iran Hostage Crisis in November, 1980. Photo: U.S. National Archives

A contact sheet shows images of U.S. President Jimmy Carter addressing the nation about the Iran Hostage Crisis in November, 1980. Photo: U.S. National Archives


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is troubled by Iran’s choice for its ambassador to the United Nations and has raised concerns to Tehran about the nomination.

Hamid Aboutalebi was a member of a Muslim student group that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf isn’t saying whether the U.S. would refuse to grant a visa to the envoy.

The U.N. headquarters are in New York, and because the U.S. is the host nation for the U.N., Harf says that the U.S. generally is obligated to admit the chosen representatives of U.N. member states.

But she does cite limited exceptions to that policy — but isn’t saying whether Aboutalebi’s case might be among them.