Top Republican demands Biden admin block Iranian foreign minister’s visit to UN: ‘an insult’ to victims

A leading Republican senator is demanding the U.S. cancel the visa reportedly given to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian to attend a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting this week after Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend. 

‘As the host country of the United Nations, the United States has historically granted visas to diplomats from both allies and adversaries: However, the United States holds the authority to deny visas to diplomats for security, terrorism, or foreign policy reasons,’ Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., wrote in a letter submitted to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

‘I strongly believe that denying Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian’s entry to the United States is necessary and consistent with the precedent set by President Obama and President Trump,’ Lankford stressed.

‘Not only does Amirabdollahian have irrefutable ties to Hamas terrorists who are currently holding 133 hostages, including five Americans, but Iran’s irresponsible strikes and continued threats have jeopardized Israel’s security,’ he wrote. ‘I urge the administration to take swift action and deny Amirabdollahian’s entry to the United States.’

Lankford noted that this week marks the anniversary of Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon – which killed 63 people, including 52 Lebanese and American Embassy employees – saying, ‘Hosting a senior member of the IRGC on the 41st anniversary of Hezbollah’s terrorist attack would be an insult to the victims and their families.’

A U.N. diplomatic source confirmed to Fox News Digital that the Iranian foreign minister would attend the meeting, even as the State Department and United Nations continued to dodge questions about his visa.

‘Visa records are confidential as a matter of law,’ State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a briefing on Tuesday, saying he could not speak to any individual cases. 

‘We do take our obligation as the host nation of the United Nations quite seriously, and that includes allowing diplomats from other countries – even countries with whom we have significant disagreements – to attend U.N. meetings and U.N. functions,’ Miller said.

Miller noted the U.S. does ‘have the ability to restrict and, in fact, severely restrict the movements of certain diplomats while they’re in New York for legitimate U.N. meetings.’

‘Should the foreign minister of Iran attend this meeting at the United Nations, I would not expect to see him at very many locations outside the United Nations,’ Miller added. He clarified that the foreign minister is not in the U.S. yet, and he said he could not speak to what restrictions Amirabdollahian would face during his potential visit. 

‘I would not expect to see him snapping selfies from the top of the Empire State Building, should he travel to New York to attend this meeting,’ Miller quipped, dodging more specific questions. 

Miller called Iran’s attack a ‘clearly escalatory’ action that requires consistent efforts to reduce tensions in the region and ‘maintain as much calm as possible.’ 

Iran on Saturday night launched hundreds of drones and a mixture of cruise and ballistic missiles in retaliation for strike against its diplomatic mission in Damascus, or, as some reports have stated, an IRGC compound next to the mission. Israel never took credit for the strike, but other countries, including the United States, attributed the attack to the Jewish state. 

Arabian Peninsula news outlet Amwaj Media first reported on Amirabdollahian’s plan to travel New York City for the Apr. 18 U.N. Security Council meeting, which will focus on Palestinians. The report also claimed that Tehran may agree to pull back from further action if Washington can broker a ceasefire deal for Gaza. 

The State Department, in a separate response to Fox News Digital, reiterated the U.S. obligations under the U.N. Headquarters agreement but noted it did so ‘irrespective of our continued concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities and support for terrorism.’ 

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, told Fox News Digital that ‘it is important that all member states be able to have a place to meet and discuss global problems.’

‘The Secretary-General does not have the authority to regulate which individuals are chosen by member states,’ Dujarric added. ‘That being said, the Secretary-General has been extremely clear in his condemnation of the Iranian missile strikes against Israel.’

The Iranian Mission to the United Nations did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment. 

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