Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be sanctioned from international flights. But he notes that even if Ahmadinejad was banned, it still likely wouldn’t keep him from traveling to international meetings. Dubowitz writes:
This week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is making his annual visit to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly. This time, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s foreign minister and former head of its Atomic Energy Organization, will accompany him, despite being under U.S. and European Union travel bans for his role in Iran’s human rights violations and its illegal nuclear weapons program.
Their presence in the United States makes a mockery of the international sanctions regime that the Obama administration has so skillfully constructed.
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, the current head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, is also subject to international sanctions, but also travels regularly to meetings in Vienna. The U.S. and EU pass travel bans to great fanfare, yet ignore them completely when sanctioned officials travel to meetings of international organizations. As Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), a congressional leader on Iran issues, wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, these measures are meaningless if loopholes allow sanctioned Iranian officials to travel freely.
Sprinkled in between, Dubowitz notes the Iranian government’s ongoing role in oppressing its own citizens and in supporting global terrorism.