The Hill: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Thursday said the United States should deny a visa to Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations. A number of lawmakers have voiced the same concern this week over Abutalebi.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Thursday said the United States should deny a visa to Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations.
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Royce was asked if the State Department should grant entry to Hamid Abutalebi, who was part of the group that carried out the 1979 hostage crisis.
“Well, no, because under the State Department rules, we’re allowed to withhold the granting of a visa if there’s a security component to it. And the fact that this individual was involved in taking American hostages would allow us to use that rationale. So, yes, we should exercise that,” Royce said.
A number of lawmakers have voiced the same concern this week over Abutalebi, who was a member of a militant group that took 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
On Tuesday, a group of House Republicans proposed legislation that would attempt to block Abutalebi from entering the U.S, similar to a bill introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a day earlier.
“I would say now would be the time to push back and show them that they’re not going to be able to run the tables on the U.S.,” Royce said. “So symbolically it’s important to see if they can get away with this. I suggest we don’t let them.”
On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said details of the case could not be discussed, but the U.S. has expressed its concerns with Iran’s government.
“Obviously, we don’t talk about visa cases individually as they’re being adjudicated. So, I won’t go into the specifics of this case, but I will say that we think this nomination would be extremely troubling,” she said. “We’re taking a close look at the case now, and we’ve raised our serious concerns about this possible nomination with the government of Iran.”