Former U.S. hostages protest Iran’s choice for UN envoy

Hamid Abutalebi

Americans who were held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran are calling for Washington not to issue a visa to the man appointed to be Iran’s new envoy to the United Nations.

Hamid Abutalebi was part of a radical student group that seized the embassy in Tehran in 1979. Fifty-two U.S. diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days.

Former embassy workers say Abutalebi should not be allowed into the United States because he was a member of “Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line,” the group that stormed and seized the embassy.

Former hostage Barry Rosen said it would be an “outrage” and a “disgrace” if Abutalebi was granted a visa to represent Iran at the United Nations in New York.

Abutalebi, a veteran diplomat who was most recently a deputy political advisor in Iran’s presidential office, has previously served as Iran’s ambassador to Australia, Belgium, Italy, and the European Union.

Another former hostage, Ambassador John Limbert, told RFE/RL that Abutalebi’s “very odd” appointment stirs up the nastiest episodes of the past and tears open old wounds…