Senate Votes to Block Irananian Hostage Taker From Obtaining US Visa

Posted: Apr 08, 2014 9:30 AM

In a rare moment of bipartisanship in Washington last night, Republicans and Democrats voted against the approval of a visa for Hamid Aboutalebi, who has just been chosen by Iran as an ambassador to the United Nations. Aboutalebi is one of the radical extremists who held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after seizing the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. Aboutalebi needs the visa in order to conduct business at UN headquarters in New York City. The effort to block the visa was led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and legislation introduced by the Senator prevents a situation like this from happening again.

The legislation, which passed unanimously, targets Hamid Aboutalebi, who has been named by the Iranian government to be its next ambassador to the world body.

According to Cruz, the legislation makes minor changes to existing law that would allow the administration to block visas for an ambassadorial pick if that person poses a national security risk.

“Under the existing statute, if the Taliban in Afghanistan had nominated Osama bin Laden to be its ambassador to the U.N.,” Cruz said, “we’d have to let him in, give him a visa and let him move to Manhattan. Now that’s obviously absurd.”

The Iranians are still waiting on an official denial of Aboutalebi's visa from the State Department.