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…