U.S. Congress passes bill banning Iranian diplomat from U.S.

The host agreement between the UN and the U.S. states: "The federal, state or local authorities of the United States shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from the headquarters district of representatives of Members or officials of the United Nations, or of specialized agencies."
By Aileen Graef  |  April 11, 2014 at 4:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress passed a bill banning an Iranian envoy to the UN from entering the United States.

Iran's envoy to the UN Hamid Aboutalebi was banned from entering the U.S. for allegedly being a part of the Muslim student group that seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.

The group in question held 52 Americans for 444 days at the height of the Iranian revolution which saw to the ousting of pro-American Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the installment of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Aboutalebi told Iranian media that he had only been involved after the hostage crisis began and was there primarily for translation.

Regardless, the U.S. has rejected the appointment of Aboutalebi to the UN and blocked his passage to the U.S. The White House has said the appointment is "not viable."

"We've made clear and have communicated to the Iranians that the selection they've put forward is not viable." said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Carney did not comment on whether U.S. President Barack Obama would sign the bill into law.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who introduced the legislation in the Senate, encouraged the president to sign the bill.

"We, as a country, can send an unequivocal message to rogue nations like Iran that the United States will not tolerate this kind of provocative and hostile behavior,"

This is a problem because the UN headquarters is located in New York City and per Article IV Sections 11 and 13 in the host country agreement with the UN, the U.S. cannot block representatives of UN member states from headquarters. An unverified Twitter account with the name Hamid Aboutalebi was quick to point this oversight in its first tweet.

"America has set a new precedent, by passing laws in its legislator that contradicts the international treaties it has signed on to."

There are concerns that this along with the proposed economic sanctions against Iran will endanger the U.S. talks with Iran to scale down its nuclear enrichment program.

[HuffPost Live]

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