WASHINGTON – The U.S. is set to grant a visa to the new Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, following a confrontation last year over the country's previous pick -- who had ties to the 1979-81 hostage crisis.
A diplomatic source confirmed to Fox News that career Iranian diplomat Gholamali Khoshrou is cleared to get a U.S. visa to assume the post in New York.
The development was first reported by Reuters.
Last April, the State Department rejected Iran’s nominee for U.N. envoy, Hamid Aboutalebi, because he was once part of the hard-line Muslim student movement that took over the U.S. embassy in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
At the time, Aboutalebi said he had only served as a translator during this period, but it was enough to block him from the U.S.
Iran’s state-run news agency, Tasnim, carried an official announcement Wednesday of Khoshrou’s new appointment to the mission. It is the only place where the Iranians have an official diplomatic presence in the U.S., as Washington broke all ties with Iran in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
When contacted directly by Reuters, the State Department would not confirm whether Khoshrou’s visa would be approved.
But sources told Reuters that Khoshrou, who has degrees from both Tehran University and New York City’s New School, had already been granted a visa as a senior diplomat once before, and as a result, had already undergone a background check to assure he did not have ties to the hostage crisis.
The news comes amid tense negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and its international partners are hoping Iran will agree to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of existing economic sanctions.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.