“It’s a disgrace if the USG (U.S. government) accepts Abutalebi’s visa as Iranian Ambassador to the U.N.,” former hostage Barry Rosen said in a statement provided to Reuters by Alan Madison, spokesman for and member of the legal team representing the former hostages in their compensation claims.
“It may be a precedent but if the President and the Congress don’t condemn this act by the Islamic Republic, then our captivity and suffering for 444 days at the hands of Iran was for nothing,” he said. “He can never set foot on American soil.”
Tom Lankford, the hostages’ lead attorney, went further than Madison: “At a time when the 52 American Hostages and their families remain without reparations and relief, the idea that one of their self-styled kidnappers and torturers would be allowed to receive a visa, enter the United States and then hold himself out at the rank of U.N. Ambassador makes a mockery of the horrific acts he and Iran perpetrated.”
U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to comment on Abutalebi when asked about him in Washington on Monday. “We don’t discuss individual visa cases,” she said. “People are free to apply for one and their visas are adjudicated under the normal procedures,” Reuters reported.
Hamid Aboutalebi, was one of the students who led the occupation of the embassy orchestrated by the regime.
Aboutalebi photograph is displayed in a state-run website among the “Collection of Photos of Students of Line of Imam” the group that took hostages.