White House says Iran's UN ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi 'not viable'

By Kyle Johnson,

The White House has said that Iran's choice of Hamid Aboutalebi to be a UN ambassador is not an option.

Aboutalebi is deemed "not viable" as he was allegedly a student revolutionary in the late 1970s, when he was involved with a student group that took over a U.S. embassy in Tehran, reports BBC News.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Iran's choice was "extremely troubling" and the Senate voted in favor of banning Aboutalebi from ever entering the U.S.

Carney said, "The legislation passed by the Senate underscores just how troubling this potential nomination would be."

A bill was also introduced in the House that was similar to the one the Senate passed on Tuesday, reports USA Today.

Aboutalebi and other students took over a U.S. embassy for 444 days, holding 52 Americans hostage over that period. He claims that he was only there to serve as a translator and negotiator, notes The Associated Press. Bijan Adibi, a former member of the student group, backs up Aboutalebi's side noting that "As far as I remember Aboutalebi was not in the main circles of those who occupied the embassy.

Aboutalebi has served as an ambassador to Belgium, Australia, Italy and the European Union during his career.

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