WASHINGTON -- The United States says the possibility that Hamid Abutalebi may be appointed Iran's new envoy to the United Nations is "extremely troubling."
Washington has not yet approved a visa for Abutalebi, who has been accused of being involved in the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Iran and the hostage-taking of U.S. diplomats there.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters on April 2 that Washington had raised its concerns about the possible nomination with the Iranian government.
Harf stopped short of saying the United States would refuse Abutalebi a visa to enter the United States.
"As host nation of the UN, expect for limited exceptions, we're generally obligated under an agreement between the U.S. and the UN to admit the chosen representatives of member states into the U.S. for purposes of representing their countries at the UN. But no prediction in terms of this specific visa case for you," she said.
Abutalebi, a veteran diplomat who has served as Iran's ambassador to several countries, has said he only served as a translator for the hostage-takers and wasn't involved in seizing the embassy.
Lawmakers in Congress and some of the former American hostages have demanded that Abutalebi be barred from living and working in the United States.
In a statement, Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) said "This man has no place in the diplomatic process."
"Iran's attempt to appoint Mr. Abutalebi is a slap in the face to the Americans that were abducted, and their families," he added.