Republican lawmakers are leading a campaign to prevent Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi from entering the US for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next week.
The invite has caused anger across US Congress as one of the world’s most ruthless political figures is visits the US and is welcomed to the meeting of the world’s leaders.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R.-NY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) introduced legislation on Tuesday that will make it illegal for Raisi and his delegation to attend UNGA, according to Washington-based Free Beacon.
Just last year, Raisi delivered a speech that berated the United States for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord and claimed Iran is a beacon of justice, as the country was falling into the worst uprising in its modern history.
Raisi is also alleged to have been invited to a meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Although no announcement could be found on CFR’s website, a member of the Council, the well known Iranian Jewish writer, Roya Hakakian, wrote a post on X sharing information that she was invited to the meeting but turned down the invitation due to his attending.
Hakakian shared her declining the invitation saying, “Thank you for this invitation, which, I'm afraid, I must decline. While I am an absolutist when it comes to the value of dialogue, I see the presence of Ebrahim Raisi at the Council on Foreign Relations as a political baptism for a man who has been implicated in countless crimes.”
Iran International wrote to the Council on Foreign Relations asking for clarification but has not received a response at the time of this publication. The date of the meeting is not clear, but Raisi will attend the United Nations annual General Assembly taking place in New York City from September 18-26, in spite of an ongoing UN investigation into the regime’s human rights abuses.
Republicans including Tenney and Cruz maintain that Raisi has no right to be hosted in New York City as the regime fosters terrorism across the globe and launches attacks against US forces and allies in the Middle East. Iran is now under heavy sanctions not only for its ongoing nuclear program, but its dire human rights abuses in Iran and its support of Russia's war on Ukraine.
It is unlikely the legislation will pass before Raisi’s arrival but the campaign has garnered support across the board. The legislation, dubbed the SEVER Act, will "show the international community that terrorists are not welcome in the US," Tenney told the Free Beacon.
She added: ”It is imperative we stop Raisi and his associates from setting foot on American soil. Raisi, whose nickname is ‘the Butcher of Tehran,’ has a record of grave human rights abuses and orchestrating terrorist activities worldwide."
Raisi gained his notoriety from events including the mass murder of around 5,000 dissidents in the 1980s and more recently, has defended the brutal suppression of protesters who took to the streets in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
It is hoped the bill could set a precedent for future Republican administrations to ban controversial figures and dictators, and is based on sanctions issued by former president Donald Trump. However, the first was first introduced by Tenney and Cruz last year, but it did not pass.
The visit by Raisi comes hot on the heels of a hostage deal with the Biden administration that freed up $6 billion in frozen revenue held in South Korea in exchange for five US-Iranian citizens held in Iran. Iran has also negotiated for a prisoner swap, coming out strongly from the deal which has also led to allegations of breach of Congressional laws laid at the Biden administration’s door.