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Obama signs law aimed at barring Iran UN envoy
Published Saturday 19/04/2014 (updated) 20/04/2014 15:27
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An undated picture released by the official website of the Iranian
president on April 11, 2014 shows Tehran's newly appointed UN
ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi who has been recently denied a US
visa (President.ir/AFP/File)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a bill designed to bar Iran's pick for UN ambassador from US soil over his links to the 1979 American embassy hostage siege.

But Obama also issued a statement saying that he would only regard the legislation as guidance, warning it could infringe upon his executive powers as president.

The spat over Hamid Aboutalebi's nomination has blown up amid a cautious thaw in relations between the US and Iran as Tehran's new leadership seeks to negotiate a nuclear treaty with global powers.

The United States said earlier this week that it would not issue a visa to Aboutalebi because he was involved in the hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran.

The move followed outrage in Congress over his selection by Iran and reflected the extent to which the episode in 1979, which was seen as a humiliation for the United States, still challenges Obama's efforts to improve relations with Tehran.

The law bars from US soil "any representative to the United Nations who the president determines has been engaged in terrorist activity against the United States or its allies and may pose a threat to US national security interests."

Despite signing the bill Obama made plain his reservations about its implications in other potential cases.

Citing precedent established by former president George H.W. Bush, Obama wrote that the law could restrict his powers to accept or reject the credentials of foreign ambassadors.

"Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity," Obama said in signing the measure.

"I share the Congress's concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our nation."

But he added that he would treat the new law as an "advisory" only.

Presidents sometimes release signing statements when they believe that a new law infringes on their executive powers as defined by the US Constitution.

In 1979, dozens of American diplomats and staff were held for 444 days by radical Iranian students at the US embassy in Tehran.

The protracted standoff profoundly shocked the United States and led to the severing of all diplomatic ties between the US and Iran for the past three decades.

As the host government, the United States is generally obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at the United Nations.

Aboutalebi, a veteran diplomat who currently heads Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's political affairs bureau, has insisted he was not part of the hostage-taking in November 1979, when a Muslim student group seized the US embassy after the overthrow of the pro-Western shah.

He has acknowledged he served a limited role as a translator for the students who took the Americans hostage.
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1 ) Mel / USA
19/04/2014 17:49
AND yet, prior to & following 9/11,7/7,Madrid,Nairobi,USS Cole&all sorts of OTHER Al Qaida-linked terrorist attacks,not to mention Israel's Zionist war crimes/collective punishment on non-Jews,Obama STILL entertains,on OUR US tax dollars,Saudi/Gulf 'Roils' who launder funds/arms/support to Absolutists,fascists,terrorists whose patrons STILL have open-access to our White House or Sen./House podium to receive gifts&'rapturous'ovations from US Absolutist racists&bigots who loath real democracy!Pff!

2 ) Mel / USA
19/04/2014 21:06
p.s. Obama needs to remember that USG plotted along with UK to pull a coup on democratic Iran & oust ELECTED Mossadeq,to install that passive-Westernized 'Peacock' Shah & his brutal secret police-torturers,who murdered TENS of THOUSANDS & pillaged Iran's wealth,stashing it in Swiss,UK Banks!And remember,cowboy Reagan POSTPONED the release of the hostages until AFTER he was inaugurated,as tho' he was the great Hollywood HERO!Instead of just a twat using US hostages as political PAWNS!

3 ) Maureen / Australia
20/04/2014 11:11
#2 Hi Mel, Obama and his Globalist bankers/New World Order mob are delusional enough to believe such double standards regarding the pillage of Iran's wealth OR the fact the US gave support to Saddam Hussein during the Iran/Iraq war is gone and forgotten... 'funny' how Israel is always calling for a military attack on Iran. Israel also seems to think no one knows about its cooperation with Iran re "Irangate," clandestine funneling of weapons to Iran etc.

4 ) Mel / USA
20/04/2014 21:38
#3:"Irangate" weps to Iran. Yes! And don't forget that US Jewish traitor Pollard(&his wife&handler)who stole US Naval,Govt surveillance(RASIN)info,& our NUCLEAR secrets to opportunist-Zionist Israel,radical Pakistan,apartheid South Africa &the USSR,all during the Cold War! The double standards are outrageous.

5 ) Carlos / usa
21/04/2014 19:37
Obama, the terrorist, who murders civilians with drones, won't allow a man whose crime against the USA was translating Farsi to English & English to Farsi. It is like Obama condemning Russia for taking over Crimea. The US caused the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis & similar amounts of Afghans. While Russia's invasion only cost the loss of 1 or 2 lives, after Crimean's overwhelmingly demand to leave Ukraine. The Iraqis &Afghans didn't vote for the US invade. USA just broke all intrntnal laws.
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