Hamid Abutalebi has been quoted as saying he did not take part in the initial 1979 occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. But he says he later acted as a translator and negotiator in the crisis.
Former U.S. Embassy workers who were held hostage in Iran are calling for U.S. authorities to deny issuing a visa to a new Iranian envoy to the UN who was part of a radical student group that seized the U.S. Embassy in 1979.
Former embassy workers say Hamid Abutalebi should not be allowed in the territory of the United States because he was a member of the "Muslim Students Following the Imam's Line," the group that stormed and seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
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 has served as Iran's ambassador to Australia, Belgium, Italy and the European Union.
Based on reporting by Reuters, CNN, and Fox News
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
Why former Iran hostages are angry over new UN ambassador - The fact that Hamid Abutalebi, a veteran diplomat who has held key European postings in the past, has been selected by President Hassan Rouhani as Iran's new ambassador to the United Nations has been well known among U.N. delegations for months. But his potential role in the hostage crisis, first reported by Bloomberg News over the weekend, has led some former hostages to call on the administration of President Barack Obama to reject his diplomatic visa application. -Louis Charbonneau, Reuters
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