The 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly will open in New York City
next month. Scores of foreign leaders will address the plenum, and the Iranian government announced on Aug. 2 that President Ebrahim Raisi intends to be among them.
As the Left-leaning Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby put it so well:
Under no circumstances should he [Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi] be allowed to enter the country.
Raisi is a mass murderer. His government has repeatedly sought to assassinate officials and private citizens in the United States, just as it has assassinated numerous individuals in dozens of other nations. In January, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan publicly warned Tehran that “it will face severe consequences” if it endangers any Americans. Yet the Iranian government makes no secret of its abiding hatred for the United States and regularly issues bloodcurdling threats to annihilate Americans. As recently as July 31, Iranian state media released a video trumpeting its ability “to turn New York into ruins and hell” by deploying intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are designed to deliver nuclear weapons.
Raisi would not be the first Iranian president to address the 193-member body in New York, but he would be the first to do so while under US sanctions, observed Elizabeth Hagedorn of Al Monitor.
In November 2019, the Trump administration sanctioned Raisi and other members of the supreme leader’s inner circle for “advancing the regime’s domestic and foreign oppression.”
The sanctions order cited his participation in a “death commission” that in 1988 oversaw the execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners. It also notes Raisi’s involvement in Iran’s brutal crackdown on Green Movement protests that followed the disputed 2009 election.
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) circulated a letter also signed by Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) urging the Biden administration to deny the visa application.
The letter made several key points demonstrating that Raisi was not qualified to receive a visa to visit the United States, among them were:
“Raisi’s involvement in mass murder and the Iranian regime’s campaign to assassinate U.S. officials on American soil make allowing Raisi and his henchmen to enter our country an inexcusable threat to national security,” the senators wrote.
“If recent reports are true that Raisi plans to attend the UN General Assembly, the White House must deny Raisi and other Iranian officials visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—while his agents actively work to assassinate senior American officials on U.S. soil—would gravely endanger our national security, given the likely presence of IRGC agents in the Iranian delegation,” the senators continued.
You can read the full letter through this link.
The decades-old UN pact has meant there’s a long tradition of the US government issuing visas to brutal authoritarians and dictators who wished to attend the annual diplomatic summit, noted Ms. Hagedorn.
Iran’s leaders have long used the platform to lash out at the West, including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose tirades from the green marble dais prompted mass walkouts by diplomatic delegations.
However, past administrations have denied visas over national security concerns, but Elizabeth Hagedorn reports experts say the legal basis for doing so is questionable at best.
In approving the US-UN pact, the US Congress passed a joint resolution in 1947 that said "nothing in the agreement … could [weaken] the right of the United States to safeguard its own security."
The Reagan administration invoked this law in 1988 when refusing a visa request from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, citing his links to terrorism. In 2014, the Obama administration denied a visa to Iran’s nominee for UN ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi, over his involvement in the 1979 hostage crisis.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman wrote, “The Biden administration should reject his request given Mr. Raisi’s bloodstained record and Iran’s continuing threats against U.S. citizens,” and we agree.
However, there’s a feeling among many Iran observers that Joe Biden’s slavish desire to reach a new nuclear weapons agreement with Iran could move him to allow Raisi in as part of the effort to close that ill-advised deal.
Denying Raisi a visa is not a partisan issue, with both Democrats and Republicans and commentators on the Right and Left urging Biden to deny the visa.
We urge CHQ readers and friends to use this link to contact the White House to demand that President Joe Biden deny Iran’s murderous President Ebrahim Raisi a visa to visit the United States to spread his lies and propaganda.
President Ebrahim Raisi
United Nations speech
No visa application
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan
Green Movement protests
UN ambassador, Hamid Aboutalebi
Iran nuclear deal