Yes, you read that headline right. The Hill posted an article today in their Global Affairs blog stating that the Obama Administration has decided to deny a visa to Hamid Abutalebi, Iran‘s chosen Ambassador to the United Nations. Abutalebi has admitted that he worked as a translator and negotiator for the student group that held Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran for 444 days.
The White House has informed the United Nations of this decision.
The article reports:
Abutalebi’s nomination prompted bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill, where both chambers of Congress passed legislation that would prevent the government from providing a visa to any United Nations ambassadors with ties to terrorist attacks against the United States.
…The bill could be seen as a violation of a 1947 treaty that obligates the United States to grant entry visas to the representatives of U.N. member states, which was signed as part of the bid to attract the permanent headquarters to New York.
But Carney said the White House shared the concerns at the root of the bill, and would work to implement its “intent.” He hinted that Obama might sign it but attach a signing statement questioning its constitutionality.
But Lamborn said Obama should still sign the bill to establish the legal authority to deny Abutalebi’s visa.
“I urge the President to sign the Cruz/Lamborn legislation which passed the House and Senate unanimously that actually gives the him the legal authority to deny this visa and future attempts to get terrorists into the United States with diplomatic cover,” Lamborn said in a statement to The Hill.
The appointment of Abutalebi was an illustration of the fact that Iran simply assumed that the President would not have the backbone to protest. I am glad that they were wrong.