Volume. 11962

Iran asks for urgent UN meeting on U.S. ban on envoy
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_summit.jpgTEHRAN – Iran has requested a special meeting of a UN committee on the United States’ refusal to grant a visa to Tehran's new UN envoy appointee.

The United States said on Friday it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi because he was believed to have participated in the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Aboutalebi has said that he acted only as a translator.

"This decision of the U.S. government has indeed negative implications for multilateral diplomacy and will create a dangerous precedence and affect adversely the work of intergovernmental organizations and activities of their Member-States," Iran's Deputy UN Ambassador Hossein Dehghani wrote to the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country, Reuters reported.

"It requires to be well addressed in the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran requests that the committee addresses this issue in an extraordinary and urgent manner," he said.

In the letter Iran expressed its "serious concern over the clear indication of refusal of granting visa by the Host Country authorities in breach of their legal obligations under international law and the Headquarters Agreement."

Iran also asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to circulate the letter to the 193-member UN General Assembly.

Under a 1947 "headquarters agreement," the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for "security, terrorism, and foreign policy" reasons. But legal experts say it is difficult to argue that Mr. Aboutalebi poses an immediate threat.

President Barack Obama had come under strong pressure not to allow Aboutalebi into the country to take up his position.

UN lawyers reported to the Committee on Relations with the Host Country that the United States was obligated to grant the visa under the UN headquarters' agreement.

The lawyers also said the headquarters agreement "does not contain a reservation of the right to bar the entry of those who represent, in the view of the host country, a threat to its security."
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