The Cable

State Department bussed third party crasher to State dinner

The State Department shuttled the newly revealed third State Dinner party crasher from a local Washington hotel to the White House and aided his entry, State Department sources said Thursday.

The third crasher, whose existence was announced by the Secret Service Monday, snuck into a group of Indian businessmen who had been given State Department logistical assistance at the request of the Indian Embassy, a State Department official said.

"Apparently it was a group of Indian CEOs who were at this hotel. They were people who were important to us and important to the embassy, so they asked for us to facilitate their travel to the White House," the official said, adding that the third crasher was believed to be an American citizen.

It's not common for the State Department to cart foreign businessmen around Washington, the official said, adding that it was not clear how much government resources were used.

The Secret Service released a statement Monday stating that the third crasher did gain entry to the dinner, did go through security, but did not have any interactions with President Obama.

"This is now a matter that's under investigation, it's a very serious ongoing criminal investigation," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters Monday.

"Apparently there was a group that was under our responsibility that went from a local hotel to the White House, and there was a person that was not authorized to be in that group that inserted himself or herself into that group."

The Cable

European delegation cancels planned trip to Iran

An 11-person delegation from the European Union will not visit Iran this week as planned, due to the tension and uncertainty surrounding the continued violence there.

The news was announced by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as a decision "by mutual agreement," but several of the delegation members had already announced their intention to abandon the planned trip, in which European parliamentarians were set to meet with Iranian lawmakers and human rights representatives.

"At the time blood is flowing on the streets of Iran we cannot remain indifferent but it rather upsets and worries us. For this reason we decided to send a signal to the international community, as a protest we will not join a visit already planned by the ‘Delegation for Relations with Iran' on 7 January to Tehran. Before thinking about such openings and any kind of dialogue, the priority is to stop the violence," said Italian lawmakers Scurria Marco, Salvatore Tatarella, and Potito Salatta in a Dec. 28 press release.

The decision is being seen among many as a sign that even the left of the European Iran-watching community is now coming to the realization that engagement of the Iranian regime is not palatable now and the move to the pressure track is the most appropriate way forward.

"We believe that the Iranian government does not deserve any form of opening, but only a strong condemnation, the same expressed by the United States and several European countries," the Italian lawmakers wrote. "Dialogue is impossible as long as the opposition is soaked in blood and the civil rights have been reduced to waste paper."

Also on Dec. 28, the European parliament group "Friends of a Free Iran" put out a press release condemning the violence and noting that the protestors no longer chant against the West, but rather against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who they said should no longer be engaged.

"The uprising in Iran shows that the clerical regime is on its way out. Negotiations and trade with, and appeasement of the medieval regime are futile and will only embolden the mullahs in their suppression and killing of the Iranian people," the group, which as of 2006 consisted of MEPs Alejo Vidal Quadras, Paulo Casaca, Andre Brie, and Struan Stevenson, wrote.

More than a dozen U.S. lawmakers had written a letter to protest the EU trip to Iran. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-MA, had also been rumored to be trying to go to Iran. Kerry has denied he is going, but the Iranian government has said it received a request from him and now has apparently rejected it.