Iran would never come out and say openly, “Here’s a reminder of how we humiliated you 35 years ago by seizing your embassy and holding your people hostage.” Even for the cloistered leadership of Iran, that would be too obvious.
But neither are they basking in subtlety when they name a participant in that terrorist act as UN ambassador.
On Friday, the US State Department denied a visa to Hamid Abutalebi, an admitted member of the group of students who masterminded the taking of our embassy in Tehran in 1979. Mr. Abutalebi was destined to become the new Iranian ambassador to the UN.
Now the Iranians are saying that there isn’t anyone else who can do the job and they plan on taking the denial of the diplomat’s visa to the UN.
“We have no replacement for Mr. Abutalebi and we will pursue the matter via legal mechanisms envisioned at the United Nations,” Abbas Araghchi, a senior Foreign Ministry official, was quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency as saying.
“Based on an agreement with the United Nations, America is bound to act according to its international commitments,” Araghchi said, as quoted by IRNA. The United Nations said it had no comment at this time on the U.S. decision.
American law allows the Washington government to bar U.N. diplomats who are considered national security threats. But Obama’s potentially precedent-setting step could open the United States to criticism that it is wielding its position as host nation to improperly exert political influence.