Bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers call for focus on Tehran’s human rights violations and terrorism

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 28, 2021—resolution co-sponsored by 225 members of the U.S. House of Representatives calls on the Biden Administration to support the Iranian people in their struggle to achieve a free and democratic state that lives in peace with the rest of the world.

First introduced in February, H.Res 118 calls for “support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran” and condemns “violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian Government.” It now has the support of the majority of the House.

In an online conference held on Tuesday, the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), presented the resolution. The event featured speeches from members of Congress and representatives of the Iranian diaspora.

“The Iranian people have resisted nuclear adventurism. They want a nonnuclear country,” Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA), the sponsor of H.Res. 118, said at the conference. McClintock also raised concern over the regime’s use of terrorism as a tool of foreign policy. “What is abundantly clear is that this regime, from its highest levels of power and corruption, has been engaged in undermining treasured diplomatic norms and privileges while pretending to seek diplomatic engagement with the international community,” he said.

“Congress sends a strong message to Iran that the United States does not tolerate the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime,” Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), the lead Democratic sponsor of the resolution, said.

H.Res. calls on the U.S. administration to broaden its policy beyond the narrow focus on the regime’s nuclear program and to include more pressure on matters related to human rights and terrorism.

The resolution makes reference to two major rounds of nationwide protests in Iran in 2018 and 2019. Both uprisings were marked by the widespread participation of Iranians of all walks of life and slogans that called for the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in its entirety.

The regime has only managed to prevent its collapse through sheer violence and repression, including the killing of 1,500 protesters in 2019, a brutal wave of ongoing executions, and thousands of protesters lingering in prisons under barbaric torture. In September 2020, Amnesty International published a report detailing the torture that was still being meted out at that time to participants in the 2019 uprising.

H.Res. 118 references the Amnesty report alongside two previous House resolutions that highlight ongoing human rights abuses in Iran. One of those prior resolutions was similarly focused on the human rights abuses associated with recent political demonstrations, while the other, H. Res. 4744, passed by the 115th Congress, condemned Tehran’s abuses of dissidents and activists more generally, and focused particular attention on the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

The House resolution also draws attention to the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorism,  highlighting by a recent verdict by a Belgian court that convicted four Iranian regime operatives, including a career diplomat, of attempting to bomb a large rally of the Iranian opposition in France.

The resolution urges the U.S. government to work with allies to “hold Iran accountable for breaching diplomatic privileges, and to call on nations to prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions, with the goal of closing them down.” This prospective diplomatic isolation is presumably regarded by the resolution’s sponsors as a starting point for more serious pressure on the Iranian regime over matters of human rights and free expression for its citizens.

One of the key highlights of Resolution 118 is support for the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The resolution describes that plan as calling for “the universal right to vote, free elections, and a market economy,” as well as advocating “gender, religious, and ethnic equality, a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence, and a non-nuclear Iran.”

The resolution concludes by declaring that the U.S. House of Representatives “stands with the people of Iran who are continuing to hold legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive and corrupt regime; and recognizes the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran.”

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