Former Iranian president permitted to enter U.S.

May 04, 1991|By Karen Hosler | Karen Hosler,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration granted a visa yesterday to Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the former Iranian president who is coming here to promote a book in which he alleges that George Bush was involved in secret dealings with Iranian leaders during the Tehran hostage crisis.

The decision was made by Justice Department officials hours after Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger recommended waiving a regulation prohibiting Mr. Bani-Sadr's entry because he was a member of the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when it was holding American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Mr. Bani-Sadr is now expected to arrive in Washington from Paris late tonight or tomorrow to catch up with the remaining appointments on a tour originally scheduled to begin Wednesday to discuss his book, "My Turn to Speak," published this week in a U.S. edition.

Administration officials have insisted that their hesitation on Mr. Bani-Sadr's application for a visa had nothing to do with allegations in his book that President Bush was involved 11 years ago in attempt to manipulate the hostage crisis in order to boost the presidential prospects of Ronald Reagan, on whose ticket he was running for the vice presidency.

State Department spokeswoman Margaret D. Tutwiler said Thursday that Mr. Bani-Sadr was deemed to be ineligible for a non-immigrant visa because he fell in the prohibited category of aliens who advocate the use of violence against U.S. officials.

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