On Thursday, the House will take up a Senate-passed measure that essentially seeks to bar Iran’s proposed ambassador to the United Nations from entering the United States.
The legislation would ban entry of “known terrorists” into the United States in the capacity of U.N. ambassadors. Iran has nominated Hamid Aboutalebi to serve as its ambassador to the United Nations in New York, a pick that raised alarms in Washington.
Lawmakers have accused Aboutalebi of having played a role in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Aboutalebi, for his part, has denied that he was directly involved in the taking of American hostages, and said he had a limited role in serving as a translator.
The House will take up Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill, which passed the Senate on Monday via voice vote, meaning it was a noncontroversial piece of legislation that no lawmaker chose to oppose. The House will also take up the bill via unanimous consent, according to an aide for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Cruz doesn’t often find friends on the opposite side of the aisle, but his bill had the backing of the third-ranking Senate Democrat, New York’s Chuck Schumer. “It may be a case of strange bedfellows, but I’m glad Senator Cruz and I were able to work out a bill that would prevent this terrorist from stepping foot on American soil,” Schumer said in a statement.
Iran’s choice for ambassador has thrown the future of nuclear negotiations — a new round of which began Tuesday — with the United States into question. A day after the Senate passed the measure, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “We’ve informed the government of Iran that this potential selection is not viable.”
But Iran has thus far telegraphed that it’s standing by its pick, with Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham telling reporters that Aboutalebi is qualified for the position. He has served as the Iranian ambassador to the European Union, and to nations such as Italy and Australia.
The bill is expected to pass before Congress recesses for two weeks.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."