January 10, 2010

NIAC Deplores Senate Vote to Sanction Iranian People

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council deplores today’s Senate passage of S.2799, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2009.  The bill imposes indiscriminate, unilateral sanctions that will hurt the Iranian people, restrict the President’s authority, and play into the hands of Iran’s rulers who continue to commit flagrant human rights violations.

“Innocent Iranians are suffering every day at the hands of their own government; today the Senate voted to increase their suffering,” said Trita Parsi, NIAC President.  “The last thing that the Iranian people need as they continue to battle for their rights and dignity is for the US to target them rather than Iran’s oppressive rulers.”

The news came on the same day that the Iranian government executed two dissidents for their alleged involvement in anti-government activities, signifying an escalation of the government’s tactics of repression.  It also came on the heels of Secretary of State Clinton’s statements from London reiterating the Obama Administration’s support for multilateral “efforts to apply pressure on Iran” that do not “punish the Iranian people.”  Obama Administration officials have communicated significant substantive concerns with the bill’s language to Senate leaders.  Those concerns seem to have been ignored.

The Senate passed this strategically significant bill after a mere five minutes of consideration-only three Senators spoke about the bill prior to it passing by voice vote before a mostly empty chamber.

NIAC urged the Senate to consider a new approach to Iran attuned to the dramatic events of the past eight months, recommending a strategy to target Iran’s rulers while eliminating existing US policies that punish innocent Iranians.  H.R.4303, the Stand with the Iranian People Act and H.R.4301, the Iranian Digital Empowerment Act are two bills that embody this new approach.  The Obama Administration has demonstrated a shift towards this new Iran strategy, recently announcing that it would remove barriers on Internet freedom software for Iranians. 




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