Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rep. Sherman's Letter to Sec. Rice Asking Denial of Khatami's Visa

Brad Sherman, Iran va Jahan:
The Hon. Condoleezza Rice
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520


RE: Visa Application of Former Iranian President.

Dear Secretary Rice:

It has come to my attention that the State Department has received an application for a visa from former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to visit the United States.

While I understand he has been invited to speak at the National Cathedral at the behest of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation, a visit by the so-called reformist president would no doubt be utilized for maximum propaganda benefit by the Iranian government in the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

Moreover, Khatami was the president of a country labeled the number one state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department every year during his presidency. We can certainly discuss to no end the degree to which Khatami “the reformist” may have wanted to change his country’s policies. But Khatami showed no interest in curtailing his country’s support for terrorism during his tenure as president, and certainly has not shown any now. He was and is a strong proponent of Iranian government material support for such terrorist organizations as Hezbollah, HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. READ MORE

Terrorist activity, including providing material support for terrorist organizations, is grounds for denying a visa. I suggest that Mr. Khatami should not be granted a visa as he was in effect one of the world’s top financiers of terrorist organizations while president of Iran.

I would also suggest that, should you decide to process Mr. Khatami’s application, he and any members of his delegation should be fingerprinted and photographed, given a rigorous interview, and their names sent through the myriad terrorist and security databases by consular, DHS, law enforcement and intelligence community officials. In short, Khatami and his delegations should be forced to undergo every security precaution that is taken with every Iranian national, many of them relatives of my constituents, who seeks to come to the United States. Moreover, these procedures should not be expedited for Khatami and his delegation.

In conclusion, Madam Secretary, I respectfully request that you 1) deny Khatami’s application for a visa; 2) should you decide to further process the applications of Khatami and his delegation, ensure that they are subjected to all security procedures to which Iranians are normally subjected; and 3) ensure that these procedures not be expedited for the benefit of Khatami and his delegation.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your reply.


Ranking Member
Subcommittee on International Terrorism
and Nonproliferation