Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called on the Biden administration to deny Iran's President, Ebrahim Raisi, a visa to enter the United States and attend UN ceremonies next month, citing Tehran's active plots to assassinate him and other top US officials.
Speaking to the Washington Free Beacon, Pompeo said that the Biden administration is setting a dangerous precedent by permitting Raisi into America just weeks after the hardline regime threatened to "turn New York into ruins and hell" with an intercontinental ballistic missile strike.
"We worked for four years to deny Iranian terrorists the freedom to put Americans at risk," Pompeo told the Washington Free Beacon. "This administration is allowing them to come to New York City while actively engaged in efforts to kill Americans on US soil. The Iranians just recently sponsored an attack that was almost successful in killing an American in that very city. We can do better."
Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, told the Free Beacon the UN is providing a megaphone to the leader of the world’s top sponsor of terrorism.
"This shows just how corrupt and broken the UN is," said Haley, who has publicly called for Raisi to be denied a visa. "Even when Iranian terrorists try to assassinate our officials, on our soil, the UN welcomes them with open arms and lets them give a speech."
"Under no circumstances should the Biden administration allow Raisi to set foot in our country," she added. "He should not be allowed to stain American soil."
Raisi’s spokesman said earlier this month that the Iranian President plans to travel to New York for the UN General Assembly next month despite US sanctions against him.
Raisi, who has been under US sanctions since November 2019 for "complicity in serious human rights violations", missed last year's General Assembly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A pre-recorded video of his address was played to the meeting instead.
When Washington added his name to its blacklist of Iranian officials, Raisi was still judiciary chief. He became president in June 2021.
In 2019, before the UN General Assembly, the US delayed issuing visas to then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and then-Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
At the time, then-President Donald Trump was asked about the issue and said that if it were up to him, the two Iranian leaders would be granted visas. A day later, the two leaders were granted their visas.
Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday came days after it was reported that the former Secretary of State was a target of an Iranian assassination plot which also targeted former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Pompeo and Haley joined a growing list of advocacy groups and Republican lawmakers who are pressuring the Biden administration to block Raisi from attending UN ceremonies in September.
On Tuesday, 18 prominent US organizations sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for the denial of entry visas to Raisi and his delegation, citing national security concerns.
The letter, drafted by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), noted that Raisi is subject to American sanctions, and is a human rights violator who was a member of Iran’s notorious “death committees” that ordered the killing of thousands of Iranians.