The United States says it has informed the Iranian government that Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations will not be welcomed in the US.
“We’ve informed the government that that selection is not viable,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday, adding that the White House shares the Senate’s concern.
Carney’s comments came after the US Senate approved Monday legislation, which aims to bar Iran’s proposed ambassador to the United Nations Hamid Abutalebi from entering the United States.
The bill, sponsored by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, was passed by the Democratic-controlled chamber by a voice vote.
The bill will require the approval of the House of Representatives, where its prospects are unclear, before it can be sent to President Barack Obama to take effect.
The Senate took the measure to deny visa for Abutalebi over his possible involvement in the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran during post-revolution incidents in 1979.
On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian university students took over the US embassy in Tehran, which they believed had turned into a “den of espionage”. Documents found at the compound later corroborated the claims by the students.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday that the country’s appointee for the post of ambassador to the UN is qualified for the position.
Iran’s UN mission is the country’s only diplomatic operation in the United States. Iranian diplomats, like the envoys of North Korea and Syria, are confined to a radius of 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan.
The US has no right to treat foreign envoys to the United Nations based on its domestic regulations.