Cruz: Senate Passage of Bill to Bar Iranian a 'Moment of 'Clarity'

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 06:57 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday called the Senate's unanimous passage of his bill to bar Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States a "great moment of clarity and unity" on Iran and its "virulent anti-Americanism."

The Republican freshman told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on "Your World/Cavuto" that the naming of Hamid Aboutalebi as Iran's top envoy was "designed to be a slap in the face."

Story continues below video.

Aboutalebi was a member of a student group that took Americans hostage in 1979 at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, where they were held during an extraordinary 444-day standoff.

"We came together in a bipartisan manner . . . and said we're not going to tolerate this insult from Iran and we're not going to allow an acknowledged terrorist to move to New York and have diplomatic immunity," Cruz said.

Cruz's bill would require House approval and President Barack Obama’s signature. An aide to Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who's authored a similar bill, told The Washington Post that Lamborn was working with Cruz to move the proposal quickly through that chamber.

Cruz praised the Senate's passage Monday night as a move "with laser speed," and said he was "encouraged that indications from the House are they're going to move quickly."

He said he hoped also that Obama would sign the measure, which "will give him the legal authority to bar" the new envoy.

"Under existing law, if the Taliban had nominated Osama bin Laden to be their ambassador to the U.N., we'd be required to accept him," Cruz said. "That makes no sense."

"It's a great moment of clarity and unity for the United States Senate on the question of Iran and their virulent anti-Americanism," he added.

Aboutalebi’s appointment by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized by the Obama administration, which called it “extremely troubling."

Aboutalebi’s visa application to enter the country as a diplomat has been stalled, and the State Department's spokeswoman, Marie Harf, has been "taking a close look at the case now, and we’ve raised our serious concerns about this possible nomination with the government of Iran," The Post reported.

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