An influential American Republican lawmaker has urged US President Barack Obama to prevent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from visiting the United States to attend the annual General Assembly session of the United Nations in New York next month.
Arguing that Ahmadinejad poses direct security threat to the US, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in a letter to Obama, said: "Our responsibility as the UN’s host country is trumped by our national security. The US must not allow Ahmadinejad or any Iranian regime official into the US for the September UN meeting".
Ros-Lehtinen is Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The Iranian regime oppresses its people; has long aided the global Islamist militant network; has called for the destruction of another UN member, Israel; and is engaged in the pursuit of longer range missiles and chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons," she said.
"The focus for the US as the UN General Assembly meeting approaches should be on securing the adoption and enforcement of broader and stronger UN Security Council sanctions on the Iranian regime, and on cutting off nuclear technical assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency to Iran," Ros-Lehtinen said.
In the letter, she noted that the direct threat posed by Ahmadinejad to US national security interests supersedes US responsibilities under the United Nations Headquarters Act of 1947.
Ros-Lehtinen also noted Ahmadinejad’s appointment of several cabinet ministers who are affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been designated by the US for its involvement in proliferation activities and support for violent extremist groups.
She emphasised Ahmadinejad’s violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by his denial of the veracity of the Holocaust and his repeated calls for Israel and the US to be destroyed.