President Joe Biden is considering whether to grant Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a known mass murderer and human rights abuser, a visa request in order for the Iranian leader to enter the U.S. and speak at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly meeting in New York next month.
As the Associated Press reported, Raisi is among the nearly 160 world leaders who “say they plan to attend September’s first totally in-person gathering” at the UN General Assembly “since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020,” with additional leaders on the provisional list of speakers including “U.S. President Joe Biden, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, [and] King Abdullah II of Jordan,” among many others.
“[I]t’s clear from the provisional speakers list released [on July 18] that over 80% of leaders of the U.N.’s 193 member nations want to address the annual gathering in person and engage in many of the off-the-record meetings and conversations where a lot of international business is conducted,” the report reads.
In light of Raisi’s purported plans to attend the upcoming summit, a delegation of Republican senators comprised of Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas has since pressured Biden to deny the Iranian leader a visa to enter the U.S., with the group highlighting Raisi’s horrendous human rights record and the Iranian regime’s recent efforts to assassinate U.S. officials.
“Raisi’s involvement in mass murder and the Iranian regime’s campaign to assassinate U.S. officials on American soil make allowing Raisi and his henchmen to enter our country an inexcusable threat to national security,” the senators wrote in a letter. “If recent reports are true that Raisi plans to attend the UN General Assembly, the White House must deny Raisi and other Iranian officials visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States—while his agents actively work to assassinate senior American officials on U.S. soil—would gravely endanger our national security, given the likely presence of [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] agents in the Iranian delegation.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who along with former National Security Adviser John Bolton were targets of Iranian assassination plots, issued similar remarks, telling the Washington Free Beacon that the Biden administration “is allowing [Iranian terrorits] to come to New York City while actively engaged in efforts to kill Americans on U.S. soil.”
“The Iranians just recently sponsored an attack that was almost successful in killing an American in [New York],” he said referencing the apparent Iranian assassination attempt on British author Salman Rushdie. “We can do better.”
Back in 2019, Raisi was among numerous Iranian government officials sanctioned by the Trump administration “for advancing Iran’s radical agenda.” During his time as the head of Iran’s judiciary, Raisi held “administrative oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime,” as well as the “torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in Iran, including amputations.”
When pressed by The Federalist on whether the administration plans to grant Raisi and his delegation visas to enter the United States, a Biden State Department official declined to provide a definitive answer on the matter, claiming that “visa records are confidential under U.S. law” and that the United States must fulfill its previously made commitments to the UN.
“As host nation of the UN, the United States is generally obligated under the UN Headquarters Agreement to facilitate travel to the UN headquarters district by representatives of UN member states. We take our obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement seriously,” the representative said. “At the same time, the Biden Administration has not and will not waver in protecting and defending all Americans against threats of violence and terrorism.”
As noted in the agreement cited by the administration, however, the United States retains the authority to protect its national security.
“Nothing in the [UN Headquarters] agreement shall be construed as in any way diminishing, abridging, or weakening the right of the United States to safeguard its own security and completely to control the entrance of aliens into any territory of the United States other than the headquarters district and its immediate vicinity,” the document reads.
Biden Caters to Iran
While Biden’s refusal to bar Raisi from entering the U.S. is foolish, it’s not surprising. Since taking office over a year and a half ago, Biden and his team have repeatedly worked to appease Iran’s authoritarian leadership as a means of coercing Tehran into signing a new nuclear deal.
Earlier this year, for instance, the Biden administration notified Congress that it had “restored so-called ‘civ-nuke’ waivers,” on Iran, which would allow for “non-American companies to work on civilian nuclear projects” in the Middle Eastern country “without drawing retaliation from the US government.” Moreover, the administration also reportedly took action in October 2021 to lift sanctions on two Iranian entities “involved in the military missile programs.”
As reported by The Hill, “The sanctions, targeting the Mammut Industrial Group (Mammut Industries) and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, were originally imposed by the Trump administration in September 2020 as part of efforts to increase a maximum pressure campaign of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activity and actions in the region criticized as malign and destabilizing.”
Personal Legacy over Security
While it’s not shocking for Biden to make a major foreign policy blunder given his disastrous presidency thus far, the reckless push for a new Iran deal reeks of something different than simply pure incompetence. For Biden, the rabid obsession with securing a new nuclear agreement — no matter its efficacy in containing Iran’s push for nuclear weapons — isn’t based on global security so much as it is his personal legacy.
Unlike his predecessor, who brought peace in the Middle East through numerous treaties between Arab states, Biden’s foreign policy in the region has been a complete disaster. In addition to his appeasement of Iran, Biden also botched the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving behind hundreds of American citizens and billions of dollars worth of military equipment for the Taliban to use against the Afghan people.
For Biden, getting Iran to sign on to a new nuclear deal would mean covering up his failure in Afghanistan and stamping his name in the textbooks of history as the president who managed to tame the beast of the Middle East known as Iran. Like any other policy issued by the Biden administration, it doesn’t matter how effective any new deal would be at stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, or whether Tehran would abide by such an agreement. So long as he gives the appearance of “doing something,” it seems Biden couldn’t care less what the long-term effect of any deal is.
At the end of the day, the lesson for Iran is this: You can plot to assassinate U.S. officials, fund terrorism across the globe, threaten to wipe Israel off the map, and Joe Biden still might roll out the red carpet for you at the United Nations to spew anti-Western propaganda for the world to hear.