Patterico's Pontifications


To Our Shame: Biden Administration Says Its “Obligated” to Grant Entry Visas To Russian Minister Lavrov And Iran’s President Raisi To Attend UN General Assembly

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:58 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is so disappointing:

The United States has given Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a visa to travel to New York for the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders next week with half the delegation Moscow requested, a Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday.

Moscow had asked Washington for 56 visas, according to a Sept. 2 letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. The Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday the United States had approved 24 visas.

Nebenzia had also noted in his letter that the flight crew for Lavrov’s plane had not received visas. It was not immediately clear if Washington had granted visas for the Russian flight crew or if Lavrov would be expected to fly commercial airlines to New York.

Note: Under the 1947 U.N. “headquarters agreement,” the United States is generally required to allow access to the United Nations for foreign diplomats. But Washington says it can deny visas for security, terrorism and foreign policy reasons. So, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Lavarov’s accusation that the U.S. and our allies are to blame for the war, how he is he *not* a security risk? And it’s worth noting that Lavarov met with the chief political leader of the Hamas terror group earlier this week in Moscow to discuss “Israel’s violations,” among other things.

On the upside, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D) and Lindsey Graham (R) have just introduced legislation to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism:

“The need for this measure is more pressing now than ever before,” Blumenthal said, citing the killings of civilians and other “brutal, cruel oppression” in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

Graham said the designation would send a strong signal of support for Ukraine and to U.S. allies. He said it also would impose penalties on Russia and tighten sanctions.

It was not immediately clear when or whether their measure might come up for a vote.

The White House is against the legislation because “the consequences could delay food exports to parts of war-torn Ukraine and jeopardize deals to move goods through the Black Sea.” They claim to be looking at other options analogous to the legislation.

One should also take into consideration the anguished testimony of Ukrainian medic, Yuliia Paievska, who was captured by the Russians in Mariupol in March and suffered, along with untold others, torture at the hands of her captors:

Searing descriptions of the suffering of detainees poured out…

Torture sessions usually launched with their captors forcing the Ukrainian prisoners to remove their clothes, before the Russians set to bloodying and tormenting the detainees, she said.

The result was some “prisoners in cells screaming for weeks, and then dying from the torture without any medical help,” she said. “Then in this torment of hell, the only things they feel before death is abuse and additional beating.”

The Geneva Conventions single out medics, both military and civilian, for protection “in all circumstance.” Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat and co-chair of the Helsinki Commission underscored that the conditions she described for civilian and military detainees violated international law.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

Ukraine’s government says it has documented nearly 34,000 Russian war crimes since the war began in February. The International Criminal Court and 14 European Union member nations also have launched investigations.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine says it has documented that prisoners of war in Russian custody have suffered torture and ill-treatment, as well as insufficient food, water healthcare and sanitation.

But sure, in light of all of this, let’s allow Russia’s Lavrov waltz right into New York City to attend the sham UN General Assembly meeting where today UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said with a straight face, “We face a world in peril across our work to advance peace, human rights…”

Along the same lines, the Biden administration is actually and unbelievably considering granting President Raisi of Iran an entry visa to the U.S. so that he too can attend the UN General Assembly. Some members of Congress are working on legislation to prevent that from happening:

Congress is moving to prevent Iran’s president from entering the United States to attend U.N. proceedings but is facing resistance from the Biden administration, which says it is “obligated” to allow the hardline president into the country.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) is circulating a bill that would bar all officials tied to Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, including President Ebrahim Raisi, from obtaining the U.S. visa necessary to attend a meeting of the United Nations’ General Assembly, which is taking place this month in New York City.

This pressure campaign has failed, however, with the Biden administration claiming it is “obligated” under U.S. law to allow Raisi into the United States. “As host nation of the U.N., the United States is generally obligated under the U.N. Headquarters Agreement to facilitate travel to the U.N. headquarters district by representatives of U.N. member states,” a State Department spokesman told the Free Beacon. “We take our obligations under the U.N. Headquarters Agreement seriously.”

It seems that the administration is unclear about what the parameters of those obligations are, and whether the U.S. has the ability to deny visas under certain circumstances and for various reason:

U.S. law enables the president to deny visas to foreign officials who engage in “espionage” or pose a direct threat to national security. Raisi could likely be denied a visa for engaging in “terrorist activities,” given that he helms the Islamic Republic’s regional militant operations. Raisi also gave a speech in January in which he threatened to assassinate Pompeo and former president Donald Trump.

The State Department this year also listed Raisi as a major human rights abuser under the 2012 Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act—a designation that could allow the Biden administration to deny him a visa.

Moreover, the US denied visas to several Iranian officials who were involved in the taking of American diplomatic hostages during the Iranian revolution.


In 1987, the U.S. government declared Austrian President Kurt Waldheim ineligible for a visa because of his responsibility for the persecution of Jews and other civilians during World War II. Washington also refused to let Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visit in 1988 because of his responsibility for acts of terrorism.

The pressure on the White House increased last week when a letter sent to President Biden, signed by a bipartisan group of 52 lawmakers, strongly urged him to deny an entry visa for Raisi:

And today in New York City, protesters were outside of the United Nations buildings demanding that Raisi not be allowed to enter the United States:

It’s despicable that President Biden would consider a man like President Raisi to enter the U.S. – for any reason. By doing so would signal to the world that we, as a nation, are not serious about human rights and the violations therein. As has been said: Even by the standards of the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran, Raisi is not a run-of-the-mill politician. He has been a driving force behind the state’s pervasive abuse of its citizens over the past four decades. Allowing Raisi to visit the United States while the regime he represents is plotting to kill Americans is a mistake.

The gross hypocrisy of the U.N. knows no bounds. The cruelty of Iran’s leader(s) knows no bounds:

President Biden is obligated to deny Raisi a visa for entry into the United States.


20 Responses to “To Our Shame: Biden Administration Says Its “Obligated” to Grant Entry Visas To Russian Minister Lavrov And Iran’s President Raisi To Attend UN General Assembly”

  1. Infuriating.

    Dana (1225fc)

  2. Biden’s soft-pedaling with Iran is akin to how Obama bent over backward in his quest for a nuclear deal, and it’s pathetic. The Iranian theocrats don’t respect our accommodations to them, so we might as well play hardball.

    Same goes double for the Putin regime. Lavrov should never set foot on American soil ever again, and you can bet most of the 24 who Biden approved are FSB or the like. They have a UN Ambassador, he can do the talking.

    Paul Montagu (753b42)

  3. This is the less pretty side of opportunity politics. Iran is semi-closed to us all the time, Russia is currently semi-closed to us. Letting diplomats and staff come to the US allows us opportunities for intelligence and defections. Yes, it is ugly, yes we don’t want them here, but allowing them to come offers us opportunities we don’t otherwise get.

    Nic (896fdf)

  4. I’d give them 52 visas. Then arrest them and hold then for 445 days.

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  5. They will come, they will bullshit, they will leave. We will have gained nothing. Neither is trustworthy, and neither has any interest in diplomacy. We stand to lose so much more by allowing this debacle to take place. Also, while these two countries are “closed” to us, there is always intel collection through various back channels taking place. I don’t believe it will provide us with any credible opportunities.

    Dana (1225fc)

  6. Also, I’ve added some meat to the post.

    Dana (1225fc)

  7. I don’t know. Lots of horrid folks have come to the UN. That’s part of the deal for the honor of having the UN on American territory. We don’t take diplomats, however broadly defined, prisoner or hostage.

    Golden Eagle (7c51fa)

  8. For Lavrov and his entourage, we can say we’ll let them in for a days after they release the American hostages, Ms. Griner and Mr. Whelan.
    Same goes for the Iranian delegation. They can get a three-day pass after they’ve released the four American political prisoners held in their prison.
    Biden needs to play some hardball and use our diplomatic leverage to advance our interests.

    Paul Montagu (753b42)

  9. The thing never remembered is that the UN can always move (say to Switzerland) and the consequences of that may be larger than the small benefits being discussed.

    We don’t live in a world of binary choices. If we did, the only alternative would be cannibalism.

    Appalled (03f53c)

  10. WRT we don’t have an announced state of hostilities….
    A better approach would be to argue that the UN should be in Switzerland. (or somewhere else “neutral”)

    Joe (b4647d)

  11. Given posts 6 and 9, I choose vegan.

    Colonel Haiku (890f98)

  12. By far the majority of world leaders should not be admitted to the UN General Assembly meeting-most of Africa, the Middle East (except Israel), Asia (with the exceptions of Australia, Japan, South Korea, Philippines (maybe) and Indonesia (maybe)), and Central and South America. There aren’t many countries that deserve the honor. I do agree the UN should be moved to either Brussels, Paris, or Geneva, but is unlikely.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  13. We don’t live in a world of binary choices. If we did, the only alternative would be cannibalism.

    The line is supposed to be: “Embrace false dichotomies, because the only alternative is cannibalism.”

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  14. I do agree the UN should be moved to either Brussels, Paris, or Geneva, but is unlikely.

    Why not some hellhole like Brazzaville?

    Kevin M (eeb9e9)

  15. <blockquote>Why not some hellhole like Brazzaville?

    Kevin M (eeb9e9) — 9/16/2022 @ 10:23 am

    No good nightclubs; also even more unrealistic.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  16. Lots of horrid folks have come to the UN. That’s part of the deal for the honor of having the UN on American territory.

    Time to re-negotiate that deal, then. I wish we had a president renowned, (if only in his own mind) as a deal-maker.

    I nominate Pyongyang as the new host city. Build a big hotel, with spas. And casinos. They could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective. Amazing beaches!

    Pouncer (67ca42)

  17. Not really concerned w/diplomats diplomating; it’s what they do; nothing new there. Besides, the U.N. is in NYC for reasons good and bad. Remember, it could have been stuck in San Fran’s Witchco.. or worse, Geneva — or it’s kid brother, Brussels. The real thing to monitor are the businesses still operating with the bad guys out of our supposed ‘allies’ –the two faced buggers, to make a buck and keep the lights and heat on. Doing business with bad guys; that’s make-a-buck-hypocrisy; an arms-for-hostages mindset diplomacy… you know: Reaganomics. 😉

    DCSCA (214a88)

  18. I do agree the UN should be moved to either Brussels, Paris, or Geneva, but is unlikely.


    “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” – Sun Tzu

    DCSCA (214a88)

  19. I do agree the UN should be moved to either Brussels, Paris, or Geneva, but is unlikely.

    What if it MOVES? Like the campus of the Olympic Games. Cities could bid, a decade ahead of time, for the honor of building a UN HQ that would only be a temporary facility. Four years later, the UN moves into NEW buildings, in some other city. And the old building and subways and parks and hotels are left behind as taypayers’ donations to the “developer classes” in the cities to rent out to commercial entities.

    How could it be worse?

    Pouncer (67ca42)

  20. It is part of the United Nations headquarters agreement. Neither of these people can realistically be considered a security threat, especially since where they are allowed to go is limited (I think 25 miles from the UN building) and they can be watched, and most likely, want U.S. protection. (now lower ranking diplomats are another question.

    I don’t know what might be considered a foreign policy reason, and that might be a reason the State Department might not want to use so much in order not to get complaints or the prohibition accepted. Anyway the Biden Administration probably considers it has foreign policy reasons for allowing them to come. (to tell them things)

    With Russia they can encourage a cessation and withdrawal. Now the Biden Administration policy toward Iran is hopeless.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

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