Washington, DC – What’s happening in Oklahoma? That’s the question many Iranian Americans might be asking themselves after a number of Oklahoman politicians recently stepped up to advocate for policies that would support the Iranian people by relieving unintended pressure placed on them by U.S. sanctions.
In May, the Oklahoma House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 1090, a resolution encouraging the U.S. Congress to support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people by lifting certain sanctions on Iran that had unintentionally hindered the Iranian people’s ability to access the Internet and communications services. An advocate and cosponsor of H.R. 1090, state representative Shane Jett (R- Tecumseh), is now seeking to bring this perspective to the U.S. Congress.
The United States “must be mindful of the impact” that sanctions have on ordinary Iranians, Jett argues. Sanctions should target Iran’s leadership and “protect to the maximum extent possible the interests of the Iranian people,” Jett says in his Iran policy paper. “The United States has a vital interest in working to ensure that its policies do not unintentionally aid in the repressive policies of the Government of Iran by hindering the Iranian people’s basic rights and freedoms.”
Jett is not the only elected official from the panhandle state who is taking a stand. A group of NIAC members in Oklahoma recently held a Mehmoonak to write their representative in the U.S. Congress, Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK), and urged him to support the Stand With the Iranian People Act (SWIPA). Shortly after the Mehmoonak, Congressman Boren became a cosponsor of SWIPA, a bill that works to focus sanctions on the Iranian government while lessening the harm they cause the Iranian people. One Mehmoonak participant event even received a phone call by the Congressman’s political director to thank him for making the Congressman aware of the legislation.
Together, Jett and Boren show that bipartisan support for helping the Iranian people exists, even in one of the more politically conservative parts of the United States.
Jett’s first test as a candidate to Represent Oklahoma’s 5th district comes on July 27th in the state’s Republican Primary. Boren also faces a primary challenge in Oklahoma’s 2nd district Democratic primary. For more information on Jett’s campaign, visit www.jettforcongress.com. For more information on Boren’s campaign, visit www.tkvw.com/boren2010/.