Iran Insists on UN Pick, Will Challenge Envoy's Visa Denial

White House's unusual decision to block Iran's chosen UN ambassador will be fought, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister says.

White House press secretary Jay Carney
White House press secretary Jay Carney answers questions during his daily news briefing at the White House in Monday, March 10, 2014. AP

Iran says it has no plans to name a new diplomat to the United Nations after the U.S. blocked the man Tehran chose.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi is quoted by the semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying Saturday that the Islamic Republic instead seeks to challenge the U.S. decision through legal channels.

The U.S. blocked Iran's pick because it alleges Hamid Aboutalebi took part in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

Aboutalebi says he was only a translator when militant students stormed the Embassy. Iran says he is one of the country's best diplomats, and that he previously received a U.S. visa. He has already served at Iranian diplomatic missions in Australia, Belgium and Italy.