US Lawmakers Disingenuous

US Lawmakers DisingenuousUS Lawmakers Disingenuous

The Foreign Ministry dismissed as "a publicity stunt" a repeated request by some US lawmakers for what sounds like an inspection visit to Iran, telling them to get rid of the illusion of being a sort of global authority.

In early February, three weeks before the twin elections for the parliament and the Assembly of Experts, Republican lawmakers Mike Pompeo, Lee Zeldin, and Frank LoBiondo sent a joint letter to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution requesting travel visas.

In the letter, delivered via the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, the hawkish congressmen had asked, among other things, to observe the elections and watch "Iranian democracy in action".

They reiterated the visa request in a follow-up letter on April 12, updating their demands to include visits to nuclear sites to verify Iran's commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, meeting Iranian leaders, talking with imprisoned Americans and being briefed on Tehran's recent ballistic missile efforts.

"We consider your visa request to have been a publicity stunt and not an appropriate request to visit a sovereign country. It (the request) has been, and will continue to be, treated in that spirit," the office of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the three visa applicants in a statement on Tuesday.

"Despite what you seem to presume, members of the US Congress are not in a position to dictate the policies of other countries. This clearly applies to Iranian visa policy. Bear in mind that as members of the US Congress you are not a global authority."

The statement carried by IRNA said the only authority recognized by the nuclear agreement with the six world powers for the verification of the either side's compliance is the UN nuclear agency.

"The nuclear agreement, [formally] known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, clearly states that the sole body eligible for monitoring the implementation of its nuclear provisions is the International Atomic Energy Agency," the office said.

"No JCPOA participant, including the United States, and certainly no citizen or official of these countries, can arrogate any such right to monitor the implementation of JCPOA to itself, nor are they authorized by the JCPOA or other provisions of international law to encroach upon Iranian sovereignty by claiming such monitoring authority."

***Self-Arrogating Congressmen

The statement criticized the "self-arrogating" American lawmakers for failure to observe internationally recognized norms for submitting requests to monitor elections in a foreign country.  

"In the modern era, visits to sites or sending parliamentary or other delegations to monitor elections are made via invitation and through bilateral agreements between sovereign states or based on reciprocal arrangements, not upon unilateral demands by self-arrogating individuals or lawmakers," the statement added.

It said after the nuclear agreement went ahead last year, tens of thousands of people have obtained visas and traveled to Iran without any delay or complication.

"But they have been able to do so by making requests consistent with the relevant regulations of the host country and in the appropriate respectful manner and not in the completely inappropriate way you have demanded to visit Iran and interfere in what is of no relevance to your official functions. We doubt that any self-respecting country would grant a visa under such circumstances."

The Foreign Ministry's strongly-worded statement drew reaction from the three lawmakers who vowed in separate statements on Wednesday to continue pushing for a visit, despite the rejection of their request.