As pressure mounts on the Biden administration to deny visa for Iran’s president to attend the UN Assembly, the Senate is preparing a bill to bar all officials tied to the Supreme Leader. 

Although the Biden administration says it is "obligated" to allow the hardline president Ebrahim Raisi into the country to attend the United Nations' General Assembly, Republican Senator Ted Cruz is circulating a bill that would alter the law to facilitate a visa ban on all Iranian officials sanctioned for their ties to Ali Khamenei, the country's ruler, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday. 

The proposed bill is likely to attract bipartisan support due to the failure of an earlier pressure campaign over the Biden administration’s insistence on its obligation under US law to issue a visa. A bipartisan group of 52 US representatives wrote a letter to the White House earlier this month calling on President Joe Biden to deny "entry visas" for Raisi and his delegation. 

However, Cruz’s proposed bill -- which may be cited as the "Strengthening Entry Visa Enforcement and Restrictions Act of 2022" or the "SEVER Act of 2022" -- would formalize efforts in Congress to pressure the administration into barring Raisi due to Tehran's active plots to assassinate US officials such as former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton.

"The United States is absolutely able to deny entry to anyone who threatens our national security," Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon. "Raisi is a mass-murdering terrorist who was handpicked by the ayatollah -- and he's coming to the United States while there are Iranian agents trying to murder former American officials and dissidents on American soil."

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