US vs Iran standoff on Iranian UN ambassador continues

By Erol Avdovic, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two sides make their case on U.S. denial of visa to designated Iranian ambassador to the UN but no decision and no new meeting scheduled

Two sides make their case on U.S. denial of visa to designated Iranian ambassador to the UN but no decision and no new meeting scheduled

UNITED NATIONS – Crossing their diplomatic spears Iran and the U.S. argued their respective views Tuesday on the U.S. refusal to issue a visa to the designated permanent representative of Iran to the UN, but the issue remains unresolved.  

Earlier this month both houses of the U.S. Congress and the White House adopted legislation which bans Hamid Aboutalebi, the candidate for the post of Iranian ambassador to the UN, from obtaining a U.S. visa to conduct diplomatic business in New York. He was labeled as an accomplice of the 1979 student protests that kept the U.S. Embassy in Tehran under siege and embassy staff as hostages for 444 days.

Chair of the United Nations Host Country Committee, Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou of Cyprus, said Tuesday he was “not at liberty to reveal what has been discussed,” instead directing the questions toward the host country, the United States.

“Of course we will continue being in touch with the interested delegations,” Emiliou said.

Iran has strongly protested the U.S. decision and wants the host committee to address the issue as a matter of urgency and ensure that UN headquarters agreement provisions are strictly observed, a diplomat present at the meeting told Anadolu Agency (AA). 

But no new meeting is scheduled to discuss the matter, the diplomat said. 

Under the 1947 UN Headquarters Agreement, ratified by the U.S. Congress, and recognizing specific international agreements such as the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, diplomats are chosen by their own countries and granted visas in the host countries where they are to serve.

The current case where the U.S. is denying a visa to the new Iranian ambassador to the UN is unique and has never happened before at this diplomatic level, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. 

The UN itself does not run any security, bona-fide or education checks on a member state’s choice for permanent representative, Dujarric said.

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