For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Elwood
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council applauds efforts in the US Senate and at the UN Human Rights Council to highlight and condemn Iran’s shameful human rights record in observance of the one-year anniversary of Iran’s disputed election.
“The words of the Senate and the Administration are commendable, but now it’s time to take concrete steps to support human rights in Iran, “said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director. ”The Administration and Congress should follow their own advice and act to ease the suffering of the Iranian people by lifting sanctions that unintentionally punish them.”
At the UN Human Rights Council, the United States and 55 other countries successfully issued a statement against objections by the Iranian delegation calling for Iran to address its human rights abuses. NIAC urges the Administration to continue to seek accountability for Iran’s human rights abuses through the UN and through direct engagement.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed S.Res. 551, which calls for the release of all political prisoners in Iran and urges the Obama Administration to take action to effectively address the Iranian human rights crisis, including at the UN Human Rights Council and through direct engagement efforts.
But while the Senate conveyed its support for human rights in Iran, Congress is expected to send the President new sanctions in a matter of weeks that US officials acknowledge will impose pain on ordinary Iranians; some in Congress have even stated that increasing the suffering of Iranians is not merely a by-product, but the explicit aim of new sanctions.
“Any Iran legislation that is sent to the President must include provisions that help, not hinder, the human rights of the Iranian people,” said Abdi. “Hurting ordinary Iranians is not a means of supporting their struggle for human rights and democracy.”
NIAC urges that Congress include in any final Iran legislation sent to the President provisions of H.R.4303, the Stand With the Iranian People Act, which would remove U.S. restrictions that prevent American humanitarian and human rights organizations from working directly with the Iranian people. NIAC also urges Congress to include provisions from H.R.4301, the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act, to lift restrictions preventing American citizens and companies from allowing Iranians to access software to circumvent government censors.