Hamid Abutalebi, was a member of an Iranian student group that seized the US embassy in 1979 in Tehran iseffectively prevented from becoming Iran’s ambassador to the UN
President Barack Obama signed a law Friday that allows Washington to deny visas to anyone — including United Nations envoys — who has engaged in terrorist acts against the United States.
Under the law, which passed Congress on April 10, the US already notified the UN that it would not issue a visa to Iran’s designated ambassador to the New York-based world body.
Hamid Abutalebi was a member of an Iranian student group that seized the US embassy in 1979 in Tehran and held 52 US citizens hostage for 444 days. He is effectively prevented from becoming Iran’s ambassador to the UN.
Tehran has already said it will not name a substitute.
As UN host country, the US is normally obligated to issue visas to foreign diplomats and heads of state attending the annual General Assembly, no matter how antagonistic their government’s relations with Washington.
There was no immediate reaction Friday from the United Nations.
The new US law adds language to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act giving the president specific authority to reject UN-connected visas.
In signing the measure, Obama said Friday that he would treat it “as advisory in circumstances in which it would interfere” with his exercise of presidential discretion in diplomacy and foreign affairs, in which the US Constitution gives the executive branch wide powers, according to a White House statement.