Iran: Raisi’s attendance at the 77th UN General Assembly violates US law
Time is running out to act on the recommendations of countless Iranian expatriates and supporters of Iran’s pro-democracy Resistance movement regarding the Iranian regime’s president, Ebrahim Raisi’s prospective attendance at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session.500 Iranian academics, scientists, and other professionals recently signed a statement reiterating those recommendations. The message was sent to the White House on Thursday, urging President Biden to deny entry visas to Raisi and his delegation.
It went on to say that such a move is clearly justified by Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which gives the Departments of Homeland Security and State the legal authority to deny entry to any foreign national who “has committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the act of torture or any extrajudicial killing under color of law of any foreign nation.”
Section 212 also mentions affiliation with terrorist organizations as grounds for denial of entry, as well as the possibility that such entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Raisi clearly meets all of these criteria.
Raisi was one of four officials appointed to the Tehran “death commission” in 1988, which oversaw mass executions in the Evin and Gohardasht Prisons that summer. Similar death commissions were held in other cities around the same time, but the judges in the capital city were responsible for the lion’s share of the over 30,000 hangings and firing squad deaths that comprised the 1988 genocide.
Naturally, the regime denies the magnitude of the atrocities. However, that denial clearly lacks credibility in light of Iranian authorities’ repeated efforts to pave over and build on suspected sites of secret mass graves where many of the massacre’s victims were buried.
This phenomenon was highlighted in a letter to regime officials signed by several UN human rights experts in 2020. The letter urged the regime to adopt a transparent policy regarding this unresolved crime against humanity, which is considered to be ongoing as long as the victims’ final resting places are unknown and their killers continue to live freely and in positions of power.
Addressing the UN General Assembly would arguably provide Raisi with the most legitimate claim to legitimacy thus far, erasing some of the shadow cast over his presidency by the mass electoral boycott and the countless protests that have included chants of “death to Raisi” alongside “death to the dictator [Khamenei].” Denying him a visa, on the other hand, would undermine his existing claims to legitimacy while sending an important message of support to Iranian activists who have made significant strides toward regime change on their own in recent years.
More than 500 Iranian-American scientists, scholars and industry executives are urging the White House to deny Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi entry into the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month. https://t.co/qRFFgrMbUl
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) September 9, 2022