Iran rejects naming new UN envoy after US refusal

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm •  Published: April 12, 2014
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran rejected naming a new diplomat Saturday to represent it at the United Nations, with one lawmaker urging the Islamic Republic to stand up to "bullying" from the U.S., which has rejected granting its pick a visa.

The standoff over Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, comes as world powers negotiate with Iran over its contested nuclear program. It also threatens to stir fresh animosity between countries that recently have seen their relations thaw.

The Obama administration said Friday that the U.S. had informed Iran it would not grant a visa to Aboutalebi, suggesting that behind-the-scenes discussions to get them to withdraw him from consideration failed. On Saturday, Iranian state television anchors discussed the U.S. reject, with a crawl at the bottom of the screen reading: "The Foreign Ministry says Aboutalebi is Iran's only choice as its U.N. envoy."

Prominent lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the U.S. had no right to intervene in Iran's U.N. envoy pick.

"Naming Aboutalebi as Iran's U.N. envoy has nothing to do with the U.S. American opposition to Aboutalebi's entry is a misuse of the geographical location of the U.N.," the Iranian parliament's website quoted Boroujerdi as saying Saturday. "The Iranian government should stand up to this U.S. bullying."

Boroujerdi, who heads the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, urged Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to write to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to fight the U.S. decision.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was quoted by Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying officials would pursue the issue "through anticipated legal channels at the U.N."

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