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White House to Iran: No visa for UN envoy pick

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WASHINGTON — In a rare diplomatic rebuke, the United States will not grant a visa to Tehran’s controversial pick for envoy to the United Nations, the Obama administration said Friday.

‘‘We’ve communicated with the Iranians at a number of levels and made clear our position on this — and that includes our position that the selection was not viable,’’ White House spokesman Jay Carney said. ‘‘Our position is that we will not be issuing him a visa.’’

Denying visas to UN ambassadorial nominees or to foreign heads of state who want to attend United Nations events in the United States is unusual, if not unprecedented. The move comes amid a possible thaw in the decades-long diplomatic freeze between the United States and Iran as the two countries negotiate a deal to curb Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

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