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September 22, 2008

INHOFE JOINS SENATE COLLEAGUES IN OPPOSING AHMADINEJAD ENTRY INTO THE US

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a Senior Member of the Armed Services Committee, said today that President Ahmadinejad should not be allowed to enter the United States, even under the auspices of the United Nations. Senator Inhofe recently joined several of his colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opposing President Ahmadinejad's participation at the United Nations and asked that she exercise her authority to deny his entry to the United States. President Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak before the United Nations this week.

"President Ahmadinejad is a clear adversary of the United States and other democratic nations that uphold liberty and freedom," Senator Inhofe said. "Iran's leaders continue to pursue the development and acquisition of nuclear weapon capabilities.  They continue to support terrorist organizations around the world, which have been linked to supplying and training insurgents in Iraq.  Further, Iran also regularly threatens our close ally, Israel.  Most recently, President Ahmadinejad called Israel a ‘germ of corruption' and stated that they will be ‘removed soon.'  These actions demonstrate Iran's destructive intentions rather than a constructive dialogue.

"As a result, I recently joined in writing a letter with several of my Senate colleagues to Secretary Rice regarding Iranian President Ahmadinejad's attendance at the UN General Assembly this week in New York. President Ahmadinejad thrives on attention and wants a voice and place on the international stage. One of the best tools is to isolate Ahmadinejad and deny him his stage, especially on US soil. As we state in the letter - the US ‘should not provide [him] with a bully pulpit'."

Full Text of the September 11, 2008 letter:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

The 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly will begin on September 16, 2008 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  We are aware that President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his officials want to participate as members of the United Nations (UN). 

As you know, the Reagan Administration denied Palestine Liberation Organization leader, Yasser Arafat, a visa to participate at the UN General Assembly in 1988 for his connections with terrorist activities.  We oppose President Ahmadinejad's participation at the UN and ask for you to exercise your authority to deny his entry to the United States. 

President Ahmadinejad is a clear adversary of the United States and other democratic nations that uphold liberty and freedom.  Iran's leaders continue to pursue the development and acquisition of nuclear weapon capabilities.  They continue to support terrorist organizations around the world, which have been linked to training insurgents in Iraq.  Iran also regularly threatens our close ally, Israel.  Most recently, President Ahmadinejad called Israel a "germ of corruption" and stated that they will be "removed soon."  These actions demonstrate Iran's destructive intentions rather than a constructive dialogue.

We understand that President Ahmadinejad's presence in the United States is permitted under the umbrella of P.L. 80-357, the United Nations Headquarters Agreement.  However, we must convey our belief that at this time, Iranian leaders should not be allowed to enter the United States, even under the auspices of the UN.  It is unfortunate that the United Nations allows Iran to participate in the General Assembly.  When leaders are openly working against the international community's efforts to address problems of concern, we should not provide them a bully pulpit.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to your response.

Background:

Iran shows no signs of slowing their nuclear proliferation programs and continues to make provocative statements against Israel. On September 21, the Iranian president said that Iran's military will "break the hand" of any aggressor that targets his country's nuclear facilities.  Statement: "If anyone allows himself to commit even a tiny offense against Iran's legitimate interests, borders and sacred land, our armed forces will break his hand before he pulls the trigger."

-Ahmadinejad announced July 26 that Iran boosted the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges to 6,000

-Iran plans to move toward a large-scale enrichment program with ultimately 54,000 centrifuges

-Iran insists that the program is intended solely for energy generation. However, The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that the Government of Iran has engaged in covert nuclear activities, such as the illicit importation of uranium hexafluoride, the construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, the importation of centrifuge technology and the construction of centrifuges, and the importation of the design to convert highly enriched uranium gas into a metal and to shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon, as well as significant additional covert nuclear activities.

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