Senate Approved a Bill to Bar any Terrorist from Entering the US
Thanks goes to Senate for this crucial matter, we all know if it was for Obama to decide about it American will never get this important done, I recommend the Senate to continue on taking on the other vital issues of the US foreign policy. [DID]
The Senate approved a bill Monday to bar a former hostage-taker tapped to be Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States.
By voice vote, Republicans and Democrats united behind the legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that reflected congressional animosity toward Tehran and its selection of Hamid Aboutalebi. Iran’s envoy choice was a member of a Muslim student group that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The “nomination is a deliberate and unambiguous insult to the United States,” Cruz said in remarks on the Senate floor in which he described Iran’s anti-Americanism since 1979 and added, “This is not the moment for diplomatic niceties.”
The bill would deny entry to the United States to an individual found to be engaged in espionage, terrorism or a threat to national security. Cruz had proposed legislation last week to deny visas to a U.N. applicant if the president determines the individual has engaged in terrorist activity. He modified his measure, though it was unclear what entity such as an international court would determine an individual’s standing.
Cruz won the tacit support of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for his legislation. The two shook hands on the Senate floor, a rare bit of bipartisanship for Cruz, a tea party stalwart, and the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate.
“It may be a case of strange bedfellows, but I’m glad Sen. Cruz and I were able to work out a bill that would prevent this terrorist from stepping foot on American soil,” Schumer said in a statement. “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.”
Last week, Cruz questioned the wisdom of holding talks with the Iranian government about its nuclear program in light of Iran’s choice for ambassador.
The United States has objected to Iran’s anticipated selection of Aboutalebi, but the Obama administration stopped short last week of saying it would refuse him a visa to enter the United States. The State Department said it had raised the issue with Tehran.
Hamid Babaei, a spokesman for Iran’s Mission to the United Nations, said last week, “It has been a usual practice in the Iranian Foreign Ministry to formally announce and appoint ambassadors – to all foreign postings – once all the formalities are completed.”
Aboutalebi reportedly has insisted that his involvement in the group Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line was limited to translation and negotiation.
For many senior political figures in present-day Iran, the 444-day hostage crisis was a watershed moment. It thrust them into the world spotlight and still carries considerable political currency within Iran, but also shows the broad spectrum of views within the country since the Islamic Revolution.
Some Iranians who were closely linked to the U.S. Embassy seizure later moderated their views toward outreach to the U.S. and the West.
Prospects for the bill in the House were unclear, although the measure was likely to garner strong support.
April 08, 2014
Related link – http://tinyurl.com/nevzf8f
House joined the Senate on the “Bar on Terrorist to Enter the US” Bill
House votes unanimously to oppose Iran’s choice for U.N. ambassador
April 10, 2014
In a rare unanimous vote, the House of Representatives went on record Thursday opposing Iran’s choice for its representative at the United Nations on grounds that the would-be envoy participated in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The rising diplomatic furor over Iran’s selection of Hamid Aboutalebi forces the Obama administration to decide whether to block the ambassador from entry into the United States. Such a move is likely to cause a public spat with Tehran just as arms-control talks with Iran, which are a top priority for the White House, may be bearing fruit.
On Wednesday, the latest round of talks to limit Iran’s nuclear program ended on a markedly upbeat note, with U.S. and Iranian officials claiming progress and a willingness to move to a new, more intensive phase of negotiation over a written agreement when negotiators gather next month.
The Obama administration hinted Thursday that a confrontation over Aboutalebi could be avoided if Iran withdrew the nomination, but it did say whether President Obama will sign the legislation, which was also approved in the Senate, if Iran refuses. A veto could enrage lawmakers of both parties, while signing the legislation would anger Iran and possibly many other governments that would see Washington as acting inappropriately when it comes to access to the United Nations.
“Our preference certainly would have been that he wouldn’t have been nominated to begin with,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We’ve made our concerns clear, and they’re going to make whatever choice they’ll make.”
The House voted Thursday to bar entry to the United States to those found to be engaged in espionage and terrorism or posing a threat to national security. The Senate has approved similar legislation, which would block Aboutalebi from entering New York, where the United Nations is headquartered.
“We’ve made clear and have communicated to the Iranians that the selection they’ve put forward is not viable,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who introduced the legislation in the Senate, urged Obama to sign the bill.
“We, as a country, can send an unequivocal message to rogue nations like Iran that the United States will not tolerate this kind of provocative and hostile behavior,” Cruz said.
Fifty-two Americans were held for 444 days at the beginning of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, which replaced a pro-American government leadership with a vehemently anti-American leadership.
Iran maintains a large and active mission to the United Nations, despite 35 years of diplomatic estrangement from the United States. Iranian diplomats are confined to New York, but in keeping with long-standing practice as the U.N. host country, the United States routinely approves diplomatic passage for Iranian diplomats and leaders.
Aboutalebi has said he was not part of the takeover and only provided translation services later. The government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said it stands by its nominee, without discussing any involvement in the events in 1979.
On Wednesday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said blocking Aboutalebi from setting foot on U.S. soil would be “unacceptable.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham added that Aboutalebi “is the choice of the Islamic Republic of Iran for representing the country in the U.N., and he is one of Iran’s most qualified diplomats.”
State-controlled and state-linked Iranian news media were filled this week with outrage that Washington could block the veteran diplomat, who has held postings around the world, including as Iran’s representative to the European Union.
At the same time, critics outside Iran are warning Washington that blocking Aboutalebi could call into question the role of the United States as host country, as well as other host-country agreements for international organizations around the world.
Iranian negotiators have avoided allowing matters not directly tied to the nuclear issue to derail the process, and despite the emotional high stakes, the Aboutalebi issue is not likely to do so either.
“We believe three months is enough to reach a final deal provided that all sides enter negotiations with goodwill,” Zarif told reporters at the conclusion of the latest round of talks in Vienna. He predicted that a deal could be made in July but also said that taking more time would not “be a disaster.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and a longtime skeptic of the ongoing talks, also reiterated his support for them.
“The talks should continue, but despite the continuation of negotiations, everyone should know that Iran’s activities in nuclear research and development, as well as its nuclear achievements, will never be stopped,” Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate decision-maker, said at a gathering of nuclear scientists in Tehran on Wednesday.
Rezaian reported from Tehran.