FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Counci condemns Senator Mark Kirk’s comments today in which he stated, “How do you define an Iranian moderate? An Iranian who is out of bullets and out of money.” Kirk has previously said, “It’s okay to take food out of the mouths” of ordinary Iranians and has advocated a strategy to punish the Iranian population in an effort to force them to protest the government.
“The 18 million Iranians who defied the odds and voted for change in this year’s presidential elections might take issue with Senator Kirk’s insulting characterization,” said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director. “Kirk has been more effective than any regime hardliner in convincing the Iranian people that, no matter what they do, the U.S. government will stand against them.”
Kirk is now shepherding efforts in the Senate to pass further Iran sanctions, despite calls from the White House to pause new sanctions in order to provide U.S. diplomats enough flexibility to secure a nuclear deal. President Obama has warned that further sanctions may derail negotiations and box the U.S. into a war.
“Kirk has explicitly called for sanctions to punish ordinary Iranians and has ignored Iranian democracy and human rights defenders who warn that sanctions are undermining them,” said Abdi. “Now Kirk is attempting to derail diplomacy and put us on a path to war, which will devastate hopes for a brighter future for Iran’s people.”