From the Oval Office, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 27, 2013. Obama now has a chance to sign legislation that would bar Rouhani’s recently appointed ambassador to the U.N.—who was involved in taking 52 U.S. diplomats hostage in 1979—from entering America. Credit: Pete Souza/White House.
(JNS.org) In a unanimous voice vote on Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would bar newly appointed Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Hamid Aboutalebi from entering America. Aboutalebi was part of an extremist student group that stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, taking 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for 444 days.
Four days after a similar vote in the U.S. Senate, the House approved a bill that would bar entry into the U.S. by any proposed U.N. representative who has engaged in espionage or terrorism or who may pose a threat to national security. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) praised the Senate and House for adopting the measure and urged President Barack Obama to sign the legislation.
“The appointment [of Aboutalebi] reflects the long history of Iranian terrorist activity throughout the world, which continues to this day,” AIPAC said, adding that the legislation “sends a strong message that America will take a firm stand against purveyors of terror directed at the United States and its allies.”