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Senate Backs Bill To Block Iranian Diplomat

The U.S. Senate backed a bill to block Hamid Abutalebi from entering the United States if he becomes Tehran's UN ambassador.
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a bill to deny entry into the United States to the Iranian diplomat that Tehran is expected to pick as its next ambassador to the United Nations.

The bill passed in a voice vote on April 7.

Hamid Abutalebi is accused of taking part in the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran and the hostage-taking of 52 Americans there for 444 days.

Abutalebi, a veteran diplomat, denies playing any role in the embassy seizure, saying he only served as a translator to the hostage-takers.

Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas and the sponsor of the bill, said the "nomination is a deliberate and unambiguous insult to the United States."

The United States has objected to Iran's anticipated selection of Abutalebi, but the Obama administration stopped short last week of saying it would refuse him a visa to enter the United States.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters