Iran’s choice for UN post denied entry Into the US

Hamid Aboutalebi

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted unanimously on Monday night to bar Iran’s newly named ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States, charging that he was involved in the hostage-taking at the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

The vote came together in a matter of hours after Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, joined forces with Senator Ted Cruz, the Tea Party firebrand from Texas, who has been inveighing against the ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, for more than a week.

“It may be a case of strange bedfellows, but I’m glad Senator Cruz and I were able to work out a bill that would prevent this terrorist from stepping foot on American soil,” Mr. Schumer said after the voice vote. Mr. Cruz called the vote “a rare moment of clarity” in Washington.

The vote also occurred as talks between Iran and six world powers over Iran’s nuclear program were about to resume in Vienna.
It was his membership in the Muslim student group that took the hostages in 1979, the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line, that led to bipartisan opposition to his selection as ambassador. After storming the American Embassy in Tehran, the group held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Mr. Aboutalebi has said that his role was only to translate and negotiate for the group. He told a conservative Iranian news website that he was not in Tehran at the time that the embassy was seized, but he did not deny he had some involvement afterward.
The House is also expected to approve the measure.