April 29, 2010 4:15 PM ET
Senator Seeks to Ban Iranian President From U.S.
With diplomats in New York saying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could attend next week’s United Nations conference on a nuclear weapons treaty, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, a member of leadership, penned a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the foreign leader be barred from entry into the U.S. The conference is set to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at its headquarters in New York starting Monday.
“This is preposterous, and allowing it to happen will make a mockery of the effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states and terrorist groups. There is simply no compelling reason for Ahmadinejad to be allowed to enter the United States,” Cornyn says in the letter, obtained by Fox News and to be released on Friday, with the senator noting that Iran is still designated a state sponsor of terrorism.
This comes amid increasing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and what western countries believe is its intention to develop nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad has maintained that his country wants nuclear power for energy purposes not to make bombs. Both the UN and Congress are considering the imposition of additional sanctions against Tehran.
A State Department spokesman said Thursday that the Iranian delegation presented applications for visas this morning at the U.S. embassy in Bern. Those visas, the spokesman said, are being processed.
Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee and former judge on the TX Supreme Court, cites a section of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 and states, “…your Department can deny a nonimmigrant visa to any alien from a country that is so designated, regardless of that alien’s official status. As such, the U.S. Government has the legal authority to deny Ahmadinejad’s request and bar his entry – even if he is transiting only to the UN.”
Secretary Clinton told reporters Thursday, according to the Associated Press, that the Iranian President would not be permitted to cause a disturbance at the conference, but Cornyn, in his letter that he is circulating to colleagues for signature, says Ahmadinejad should not be granted entry under any circumstances.
"The mission of those of us going to New York to review, revise and reinvigorate the NPT regime is very clear. If that's not his mission, then it won't be a particularly useful or productive trip on his part," Clinton said.
"If he believes that by coming he can somehow divert attention from this very important global effort or cause confusion that might possibly throw into doubt what Iran has been up to ... then I don't believe he will have a particularly receptive audience," the secretary said.
Cornyn says in his letter, which he is circulating to colleagues for their signature, that should the Iranian President be permitted entry into the U.S., “We request that you severely restrict his movement, limiting it to the UN Headquarters District. “
Members of Congress have, in the past, tried to bar entry for the Iranian leader. The U.S. has, at times in the past, barred entry into the U.S. for some Iranian officials.
There is a copy of the letter here.
Thank you Senator Cornyn.
I am glad to have someone down here representing my views.
Somehow i have the impression that Obama will welcome him and tell off the senator.
I think we should arrest him and turn him over to Israel. However, I think Obama has a backyard beer fest planned with him and Chavez...
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