In a rare sign of Senate bipartisanship, several top Democrats including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy backed conservative Sen. Ted Cruz's effort to block Iran's new United Nations ambassador, involved in the 1979 holding of American diplomats for 444 days, from U.S. soil.
“This nomination is part of Iran's clear and consistent pattern of virulent anti-Americanism that has defined their foreign policy since 1979,” said Cruz Monday night of his proposal which was passed unanimously. “We need to send Tehran an equally clear message: The United States Senate is not going to just ignore this most recent insult, but is going to give our President the authority to affirmatively reject it. I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this national security issue that transcends political parties.”
He urged swift passage in the House where Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., has introduced a similar proposal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has named Hamid Aboutalebi as his U.N. ambassador and filed a visa application to let him in. He has been described as one of the hostage takers and as a translator during the 1979-1981 event that helped to cost former President Jimmy Carter his re-election.
In a floor speech to introduce his bill last week, Cruz quoted the recent movie "Argo" about the hostage crisis when he asked Tehran, “don't you have a better bad idea than this?”
Cruz said that the appointment of Aboutalebi should end the speculation in the White House and Foggy Bottom that Iran's new president wants to be friendly with America. “This action should serve as a wakeup call. That regime in Tehran is directed by the same policies that resulted in the hostage crisis in the first place,” said Cruz.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.