As a teacher of Middle Eastern History, I am astonished by the ugly irony of the Congress voting unanimously to deny a visa to the potential Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi.

Because he was a translator during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, we are expressing "righteous indignation" about his nomination. We must be suffering from historical amnesia.

That very same embassy in Teheran, that was stormed by Iranian students in 1979, was the very den of spies from which the 1953 CIA coup d'etat was staged to overthrow the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh.

Once again, U.S. foreign policy is being driven by a hypocritical double standard that continues to undermine our ability to find common ground with our adversaries. It is a recipe for diplomatic disaster.

Peter C. McVeigh

, Oreland, pmcveigh@comcast.net