Hamid Aboutalebi

The Iranian president has appointed Hamid Aboutalebi as the new Iranian envoy to the United Nations. Aboutalebi is a veteran diplomat and has held several key posts in Europe.

Aboutalebi has already served as Iranian ambassador to Italy, Belgium and Australia.

Aboutalebi will replace Mohammad Khazai, who was seen as a moderate diplomat.

Western media have focused on Aboutalebi’s alleged connection with the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979. Aboutalebi has reportedly denied any direct connection with the incident and has said that he did, however, act as translator in some of exchanges.

Iran has applied for a visa to replace Khazai with Aboutalebi, and if the visa is approved, the new Iranian envoy is set to take over his new position.

Iranian diplomats at the UN face restrictions in traveling to New York, as do North Korean and Syrian diplomats.