Bipartisan group of lawmakers calls on administration to block Iranian leaders from U.N. meetings in U.S.

Seven House Democrats joined a push to block Iranian officials from the country

AFP via Getty Images

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in Tehran on September 22, 2023.

A bipartisan group of 27 House lawmakers wrote to the Biden administration on Thursday calling on the Department of State to block any Iranian government officials from entering the U.S. for meetings of the United Nations.

Republicans have repeatedly pushed the administration to take such a step, but the support of seven Democrats for this letter is notable and reflects a desire among some Democratic moderates for a more aggressive approach toward the regime in Tehran.

Reps. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) led the letter. Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Don Davis (D-NC), Darren Soto (D-FL), Angie Craig (D-MN) and Mary Peltola (D-AK) joined the letter.

Republican Reps. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Ryan Zinke (R-WY), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Aaron Beam (R-FL), David Rouzer (R-GA), Erin Houchin (R-IN), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Keith Self (R-TX), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Rudy Yakym (R-IN) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), as well as resident commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), also signed.

“Given President [Ebrahim] Raisi and his regime’s longstanding and egregious misconduct, we strongly urge you to deny all entry visas to the United States for President Raisi and any government officials or organizations connected to the regime,” the letter reads, noting instances in 2014 and 2020 in which Iranian diplomats were denied visas to enter the U.S.

The letter looks ahead months to September, when the U.N. General Assembly and the Summit for the Future are both expected to host Iranian officials, and could preview further efforts in the ensuing months.

Under the U.S. agreement to host the U.N. headquarters, it is generally required to allow foreign diplomats to enter the U.S. to attend U.N. proceedings, but Washington has in the past reserved the right to deny specific visas due to national security concerns.

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