President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill into law intended to prevent an Iranian diplomat who allegedly played a role in the 1979 hostage crisis from entering the United States. However, during the signing of the bill, authored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the president indicated he would treat the law only as “advisory.”
“Acts of espionage and terrorism against the United States and our allies are unquestionably problems of the utmost gravity, and I share the Congress’s concern that individuals who have engaged in such activity may use the cover of diplomacy to gain access to our nation,” Obama said.
“Nevertheless, as President [George H.W.] Bush also observed, ‘curtailing by statute my constitutional discretion to receive or reject ambassadors is neither a permissible nor a practical solution,’” he continued. “I shall therefore continue to treat section 407, as originally enacted and as amended by S. 2195, as advisory in circumstances in which it would interfere with the exercise of this discretion.”
Earlier this month, Republicans and Democrats united to support Cruz’s bill that expressed Congress’ anger toward Tehran over its selection of Hamid Aboutalebi as an ambassador. Aboutalebi was a member of a Muslim student group that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
“We see this kind of offensive behavior for what it is, and we will not tolerate it,” Cruz said on the Senate floor before lawmakers passed the bill.
The bill is intended to “deny entry to the United States to an individual found to be engaged in espionage, terrorism or a threat to national security,” the Associated Press reported.
Even with Obama’s “advisory” language, Cruz on Friday still thanked the president for signing the bill on Twitter.
Thanks to Pres. Obama for standing with a bipartisan, unanimous Congress and signing S. 2195 to #KeepTerroristsOut of the US!
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) April 18, 2014
Iran is apparently dismissing the bill entirely, vowing to take up the issue directly with the United Nations.
(H/T: The Washington Examiner)