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Old 03-31-2014, 12:22 PM   #1
9mm_fan

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Default Iran Names 1979 U.S. Embassy Hostage-Taker Its UN Envoy
Iran has named a member of the militant group that held 52 Americans hostage in Tehran for 444 days to be its next ambassador to the United Nations.

The Iranian government has applied for a U.S. visa for Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s former ambassador to Belgium and Italy, who was a member of the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line, a group of radical students that seized the U.S. embassy on Nov. 4, 1979. Imam was an honorific used for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Relations between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. and its allies are beginning to emerge from the deep freeze that began when the self-proclaimed Iranian students overrun the embassy and took the hostages. The State Department hasn’t responded to the visa application, according to an Iranian diplomat.

A controversy over Aboutalebi’s appointment could spark demands on Capitol Hill and beyond during this congressional election year for the Obama administration to take the unusual step of denying a visa to an official posted to the UN. It also could hamper progress toward a comprehensive agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and five other world powers are seeking to negotiate with Iran by July 20.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani chose Aboutalebi to serve at the UN, which is headquartered in New York City on international, soil after the interim nuclear deal was forged last Nov. 24.

Compensation Issue

“There’ll not be any rapprochement with Iran until hostages are compensated for their torture,” said Tom Lankford, an Alexandria, Virginia-based lawyer who’s been trying to win compensation for the hostages since 2000. “It’s important that no state sponsor of terror can avoid paying for acts of terror.”

Anyone connected with the hostage-takers shouldn’t get a U.S. visa, said a former hostage and U.S. diplomat. He requested anonymity to avoid renewed attention.

Aboutalebi has said he didn’t take part in the initial occupation of the embassy, and acted as translator and negotiator, according to an interview he gave to the Khabaronline news website in Iran.

“On a few other occasions, when they needed to translate something in relation with their contacts with other countries, I translated their material into English or French,” Aboutalebi said, according to Khabaronline. “I did the translation during a press conference when the female and black staffers of the embassy were released, and it was purely based on humanitarian motivations.”

He referred to the release of some embassy staff members during the first few weeks of the crisis in November 1979.

Photo Displayed

Although Aboutalebi downplays his involvement, his photograph is displayed on Taskhir, the website of the Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line. Taskhir can mean both capture and occupation in Persian.

According to Mohammad Hashemi, one of the students who led the occupation of the embassy, Iran’s revolutionary government sent Aboutalebi and Abbas Abdi, another architect of the occupation, as emissaries to Algiers. The Algerian capital at that time was a mecca of third-world liberation movements, including the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for the Iran’s UN Mission in New York, declined to comment.

“We don’t as a matter of practice comment on visa applications.” said Marie Harf, deputy State Department spokeswoman. “People are free to apply,” and the U.S. has a process to review all visas, she said.

Asked if the U.S. is aware that Aboutalebi was a member of the hostage-taking group, Harf declined to comment.

No Speculation

“Anyone can submit a visa application, and it will be evaluated as we do all visa applications, in accordance with our procedures,” she said. “We don’t speculate on what the outcome might be.”

The U.S. is obliged to grant entry visas to representatives of UN member-states in accordance with an agreement signed in 1947.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir decided not to attend last year’s General Assembly session after not receiving a response to his visa application from the State Department. Bashir is subject to outstanding arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and referral for trial in The Hague. While the U.S. isn’t a party to the ICC, the court has asked American authorities to surrender Bashir if he enters U.S. territory.

Abkhazia Dispute

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin accused the U.S. of denying a visa for Abkhazia’s then-foreign minister Sergei Shamba in 2007, when he sought to attend a Security Council meeting. Then-National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack, now a vice president of Chicago-based Boeing Co. (BA), said Shamba withdrew his visa request before the U.S. made a decision on his application.

The U.S. doesn’t recognize Abkhazia as an independent territory because it broke away from Georgia in 2008.

Some U.S. foes have received visas in the past, said Gary Sick, the top Iran expert on President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council staff during the hostage crisis.

“All kinds of leaders from Cuba to Africa who could be accused of horrible crimes and opposing U.S. policies have received visas,” Sick said. “There is no way to know why some people get the visa and some don’t.”

Some of the students who took the hostages formed the backbone of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, according to the book “Guests of the Ayatollah,” by Mark Bowden.

Others have had extended political careers. Masoumeh Ebtekar, a former spokeswoman for the hostage-takers, is a vice president in Iran under Rouhani and head of the Department of Environment.

Others fell out of favor amid shifting political developments in Iran. Abdi, one of the first to enter the embassy compound, became the editor of reformist newspaper Salaam, which was shut down in 1999. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2003, and released in 2005.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:24 PM   #2
softy54534

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The US government needs to arrest this camel jock as soon as he lands at JFK
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:24 PM   #3
Frofted

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The minute he steps off the plane, the U.S. should immediately arrest him and send him to the Hague for trial before the ICC, or bring that, put him on trial here and send his sorry butt to prison for a mandatory 30 years.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:24 PM   #4
9mm_fan

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Why are most American so ignorant on why the Iran hates the US? I'll tell you why, because in 1953 the CIA help overthrow the elected government of Iran and installed the Shah of Iran he terrorized his people. Some of you need to crack open a history book.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:24 PM   #5
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Ignorance runs deep in America and hate for Obama is worse. 1979 we watched as young militants took 44 Americans hostages. Why? Because they wanted their current leader removed and he was friends with the US. Well everyone knew of the crisis but of course Carter was blamed. In short Carter would not meet the demands of money the people said they wanted along with Shah. As an election was taking place then candidate Reagan with inside CIA friends made a deal. The deal was to hold the release of prisoners as they were about to be released. As the plan worked out Reagan won office sworn in the prisoners were released because then President Reagan paid the money. US has it's own set of criminals in office as Grand Theft Auto/Arsonist Congressmen Issa. Even President George W. Bush had his criminal record as he was elected. We just had Congressman Radel from Florida caught buying crack cocaine and admitting he is a long time drug user now with a criminal record still in office. Iran has a long way to go to catch up with the USA.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
hydie

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Lets Nuke Iran and cure 2 problems with 1 big Bomb. Get rid of a lot of worthless people and have Global cooling. End of two big problems ! Maybe We can get A H GORE to visit Iran just before we drop the Big one. Then we get rid of three problems with one Bomb. Hey, that will work !
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:25 PM   #7
tgs

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This action demonstrates the disregard Iran has for the US.
Can't say much for Belgium and Italy for recognizing his credentials.
This says so much for current negotiations with Iran.
All country involved should take this action into account when they consider how trust
worthy Iran is.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:25 PM   #8
Wered1958

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Iran is giving Barak Obama the finger with this move. Jimmy Carter will long be remembered for his impotence in the Iranian Hostage Crisis and Ronald Reagan was sworn in and the Iranians on the exact minute, released all of them.
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