Iran Escalates Dispute over UN Envoy


united-nationsIran’s increasingly angry protests over the American decision to not grant a visa to its new UN ambassador have laid bare the limits of global law when its provisions clash with the interests of the U.S., the host country. Experts said Tuesday that even if Iran does have legal grounds to argue that its new ambassador’s rights have been violated, there is little it can do. Some suggested the U.S. might even have sympathy and international law on its side.

The 1947 UN Headquarters Agreement obliges the host to allow access to foreign diplomatic representatives, even from countries the U.S. dislikes. But the U.S. also enacted a law that year in which it reserved the right to “safeguard its own security” by denying visas to foreign visitors to the UN deemed to be a threat. The ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, was a translator for the Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran who seized the American Embassy and took hostages in 1979.

In a 1988 case, when the U.S. denied a visa to Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO, the UN meeting was moved from New York to Geneva.

{Andy Newscenter}