United States lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday to deny entry to sanctioned individuals attending U.N. meetings following the visit of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s President a few days ago.
Republican Rep. Joe Wilson and Dem. lawmaker Jared Moskowitz, members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sponsored the bill.
Should the law pass, it would prevent Iran President Ebrahim Raisi from attending the next U.N. General Assembly in New York.
In a statement, Wilson said that the “mass murderer and terrorist Ebrahim Raisi hates the U.S., pledges death to America, yet applies for and is granted permission to travel to New York annually for the United Nations. This hypocrisy is unacceptable.”
“[This bill] ensures that the oppressors of freedom in Iran do not get to visit the US to enjoy the liberties here that they deprive their citizens of at home in Iran,” Wilson added.
Rep. Moskowitz, co-sponsoring the bill, asked on Twitter why the U.S. would “give the Iranian regime and other malign actors a platform, given their kidnapping of Americans and support for global terrorism?”
The bill is called ‘No Paydays for Hostage-Takers Act,’ and includes extensive sections on Iran’s frozen assets and the $6 billion release.
The new legislation requires the U.S. President to submit an itemized list of all transactions involving these funds, including information on parties involved, financial institutions, goods purchased, destinations, end users, notification dates, and transaction dates.
The bill also calls on the President to review all cases of hostage-taking by the Iranian regime every six months, determining whether those responsible meets the criteria for sanctions under the Levinson Act, named after Robert Levinson, a former DEA and FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007. He was declared dead in custody in 2020 despite efforts by his family to secure his release.
“When Iran wrongfully detains one of our own, they must know that the U.S. will not sit back; we will take action and respond,” Rep. Moskowitz said.
The new legislation requires the U.S. Sec. of State to assess whether U.S. travel to Iran poses “an imminent danger to the public health or physical safety of U.S. travelers” and whether to invalidate American passports for travel to Iran.
The Sec. of State has the authority to restrict American travel to foreign countries, as shown in the case of North Korea in 2017 following the torture and death of U.S. civilian Otto Warmbier.
Iranian activists have long called for such measures against Raisi’s presence in New York due to his involvement in the summary execution of up to five thousand Iranian political prisoners in 1988.