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Iran stands by choice as envoy to United Nations

| Friday, May 2, 2014, 7:57 a.m.
Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, was arrested for spying in Iran during what his family says was a trip to visit his grandmother.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Saturday said it would not name a new diplomat to represent it at the United Nations, with one lawmaker urging the Islamic Republic to stand up to “bullying” from the United States.

The Obama administration said Friday that the United States had informed Iran it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Iranian state television anchors discussed the rejection, with a crawl at the bottom of the screen reading: “The Foreign Ministry says Aboutalebi is Iran's only choice as its U.N. envoy.”

Prominent lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the United States had no right to intervene in Iran's U.N. envoy pick.

“Naming Aboutalebi as Iran's U.N. envoy has nothing to do with the U.S.,” he said.

“American opposition to Aboutalebi's entry is a misuse of the geographical location of the U.N.,” the Iranian parliament's website quoted Boroujerdi as saying Saturday. “The Iranian government should stand up to this U.S. bullying.”

Boroujerdi, who heads the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, urged Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to write to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to fight the U.S. decision.

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