Three U.S. lawmakers have applied for travel visas to Iran to oversee their upcoming elections and to inspect nuclear sites to ensure that the government has kept its end of the nuclear deal.
The trio, Reps. Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Mike Pompeo and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) also penned a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Iran Revolutionary Guardian Council General Mohammad Ali Jafari to support their application, which was hand delivered today to the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, D.C., the office that has served in place of an Iran embassy since 1979.
“The primary reason for our visit to Iran is to observe your elections scheduled for February 26th, 2016” the letter states, adding “We look forward to seeing Iranian democracy in action.”
The group hopes for a swift response, noting the limited time between now and the election date.
The letter also raises concern over reports that Iran’s Guardian Council has disqualified the vast majority of reform candidates.
“There are so many unanswered questions that the American public want and deserve answers on,” Rep. Zeldin told The Foreign Desk.
“If our visa application is approved, this can be a productive week learning more about the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement, Iran’s elections, American hostages, our 10 detained Navy Sailors, and more,” Zeldin said, adding that the “candid assessment” the three would provide upon their return “would be so much more helpful than what is provided by others based on speculation.”
Naysayers will quickly dismiss the letter and the Congressmen’s efforts and see the request as a ploy to further diminish the nuclear agreement and prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran. All three men vocally opposed the deal.
When asked if he would indeed take the trip to Iran if his visa were accepted, Zeldin said he would.
Following the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, the group wishes to meet with Iranian leaders and scientists associated with Iran’s nuclear program to clarify ongoing work on weaponization, a briefing on recent ballistic missile tests, as well as to coordinate visits to Parchin, Fordow and Arak, sites that were listed in the JCPOA negotiations for previous nuclear activity.
Also on their agenda, the group wishes to meet with Americans still held in Iran, including Siamak Namazi, a U.S. citizen reportedly being held in Evin Prison, as well as the disclosure of information surrounding the disappearance of Robert Levinson, the former F.B.I. agent last seen on Kish Island in 2007.
In addition, the congressmen request a briefing by Iran’s IRGC on the recent detention of 10 U.S. Navy sailors amidst allegations that protocols in the Geneva convention were violated.