February 25, 2010

House, Senate Propose New Human Rights Sanctions on Iran

Washington, D.C. – Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have introduced legislation to impose sanctions on individuals in Iran guilty of human rights abuses following the June 12 election.  The legislation, S.3022, would create a list of Iranian governmental officials who were complicit in post-election abuses, publishing their names on the Treasury Department’s website and subjecting them to greater financial and diplomatic scrutiny.

The bill (S. 3022) follows a proposal introduced last December by Rep. Keith Ellison, Stand with the Iranian People Act (SWIPA, H.R. 4303), to impose sanctions on Iranian officials for their human rights abuses, rather than for Iran’s nuclear program.  That proposal would also relax restrictions on private citizens’ support for the Iranian people.

The McCain/Lieberman bill would subject Iranian human rights violators to two forms of sanctions: a visa ban and financial sanctions, which includes seizing assets within the United States and prohibiting certain financial transactions.  The President may also waive the application of these sanctions if he deems it is in the “national interest” to do so.

In a press release, Senator McCain said: “As the Iranian people risk their lives to demand the justice and freedom they deserve in the face of this lawless and oppressive regime, they should know that America is on their side.”  Senator McCain, Lieberman, and others announced the bill’s introduction in a televised press conference on Feb. 12.
This week, following the introduction of a companion version of the bill in the House, lead sponsor Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY) said: “These targeted sanctions are a clear sign to Iran that the world is watching them and that America supports the Iranian people who continue to fight for freedom and justice.”
The McCain-Lieberman legislation currently has 14 cosponsored.  The House version, H.R.4647, has four.




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