The Obama administration said Friday that the U.S. had informed Iran it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. While U.S. officials had been trying to persuade Iran to simply withdraw Mr. Aboutalebi’s name, the announcement amounted to an acknowledgment that those efforts had not been successful.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pursuing this issue through anticipated legal channels at the U.N.,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was quoted as saying by Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency. “We have no choice to substitute Mr. Aboutalebi.”…

Denying visas to U.N. ambassadorial nominees or to foreign heads of state who want to attend United Nations events in the U.S. is extremely rare, though there appears to be precedent. According to a paper published by the Yale Law School, the U.S. rejected several Iranians appointed to the U.N. in the 1980s who had played roles in the embassy hostage crisis or other acts against American citizens.