The legislation, introduced by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz,
would prevent "known terrorists" from entering the United States to
serve as U.N. ambassadors.
The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the measure by a voice vote.
The possibility that Abutalebi may have played a role in the
1979-1981 hostage crisis has outraged some of the U.S. Embassy
workers held by the Iranians for 444 days.
Several lawmakers had said they were infuriated that Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani would make such a choice, and the State
Department had expressed concern.
The United States, which severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1980
during the hostage crisis, is generally required to allow U.N.
diplomats to come to New York under its host country agreement with
the United Nations. But under limited circumstances, it can refuse
to grant visas to such diplomats.
New York's Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the
Senate, said he was pleased about the vote and that he and Cruz,
normally on opposite sides of policy decisions, had discussed the
"We ought to close the door on him, and others like him, before he
even comes to the United States, and that's exactly what this bill
will do," Schumer said in a statement.
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The measure must be approved by the House of Representatives before
it can be sent to President Barack Obama for possible signing into
law. Colorado Republican Representative Doug Lamborn has introduced
similar legislation in the House.
There was no immediate word from House leaders about its prospects
in the Republican-led chamber.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Ken Wills and Peter
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