Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s pro-Iranian Hungarian friends

Republican Congresswoman from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn is pleased with President Trump’s executive order to bar Syrian refugees and block citizens of seven countries, among them Iran, from entering the US.

Rep. Blackburn considers Iran an enemy of the United States and two years ago she expressed strong concerns over Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. She wrote that the Iranians were untrustworthy: “Iranians were chanting ‘Down with America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ as they celebrated Al-Quds day. How can we possibly trust them to act in good faith?” (Read Blackburn’s press release here.)

Ms. Blackburn is close to the Trump family, especially to the President’s daughter, Ivanka, and was a member of the President-elect’s transition team. Hungary’s Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi, saw the opportunity and befriended Ms. Blackburn in order to charm the influential congresswoman to lobby for a highly coveted White House invitation for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Authoritarian Orbán was persona non grata at the Obama White House and is upset that he has never received an official invitation to Washington.

(from left to right) Mr. Kristóf Altusz, Hungarian State Secretary, Ambassador Szemerkényi, Rep. Blackburn and her husband.

Will Ms. Szemerkényi’s lobbying efforts work? I doubt it.

Prime Minister Orbán is not only a casual friend of Iran but also supports nuclear cooperation with them. A couple of months ago Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister, after talks with Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that the two countries would “continue and expand” the training of Iranian nuclear experts as well as establish research and scientific cooperation in the use of nuclear energy. (More about Hungary-Iran cooperation here.)

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister with Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani.

Last year Mr. László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly, spent almost a week in Teheran trying to convince Iran’s leaders that “Hungary could become an important entry-point into Europe for Iran.” It worth to mention that Mr. Kövér is banned from entering Israel for his support of WWII fascists. (Read here about Mr. Kövér’s ban from Israel.)

László Kövér with Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani.

It would be a major coup from Ambassador Szemerkényi if she could convince anti-Iranian Blackburn to help pro-Iranian Orbán to receive an invitation to the Trump White House. The Hungarian Ambassador has already distributed her photos with Blackburn as proof that the Orbán government has access to President Donald Trump’s inner circles.

György Lázár

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