Diplomacy

Bloomberg: “Dilemma” for U.S. as Iran Names Man Linked to ’79 Crisis as UN Envoy

Businessweek on Monday assessed that Iran’s appointment of Hamid Aboutalebi to be Tehran’s new ambassador to the United Nations may become “a dilemma” for President Barack Obama, just days after the outlet originally revealed that the Iranian diplomat – who had belonged to the group that captured and held 52 Americans hostage in 1979 – was having trouble acquiring a visa to enter the United States.

“Denying a visa to Iran’s ambassador-designate could upset President Obama’s still-delicate diplomatic re-engagement with Iran,” Singh, a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, said in an e-mailed statement. “But granting the visa will prove controversial in the U.S. and will reinforce the impression among regional allies that Washington is willing to ignore Iranian misbehavior in our pursuit of a nuclear accord.”

Aboutalebi has reportedly been waiting to enter the U.S., and there are fears that the situation could escalate diplomatically.

The President had already last week reportedly received a chilly reception in Saudi Arabia due to Washington’s diplomacy toward Iran. The incident itself may damage the White House’s credibility in reading Iranian intentions.

The administration has for months leaned heavily on the Iranian claim that any Congressional move against Iran would shatter the delicate “spirit of Geneva” needed for negotiations to succeed, Geneva being the site where the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) had been hammered out.

The theme may be difficult to reconcile with what critics of the President were quick to characterize as a poke in his eye. Bipartisan lawmakers from both chambers of Congress have lately again begun calling for a broader Congressional role in negotiations.

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