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November 20, 2014 3:49 pm

As Iran Nuclear Deadline Approaches, House Passes Legislation Condemning Regime’s Human Rights Abuse

avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranians in Germany protest the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari. Photo: Wikicommons

The U.S. House of Representatives has given vote approval to legislation to condemn Iran for its “gross human rights violations.”

The bipartisan legislation was introduced last week by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member. Passage of the legislation comes a few days before the November 24 deadline for an international agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.

H. Res 754 highlights the full range of human rights abuses by the Iranian regime. The resolution notes the continued suppression of the basic rights of women and religious minorities, making special mention of the October 15 execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, “an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault, an execution preceded by the lack of due process, including a reported forced confession.” Jabbari’s fate, the resolution says, is one particularly pertinent example of “the dramatic rise in executions of Iranian citizens by authorities since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013.”

Rouhani has been promoted as a moderate by both the Obama Administration and several European governments, in their bid to reach a nuclear deal.

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“While Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions with relentless determination, it continues to repress millions of Iranians yearning for basic freedoms,” Royce said after the legislation was passed yesterday. “Today’s resolution stands for the principle that U.S. foreign policy can and must pursue strategic objectives, like the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, while promoting democracy and human rights.”

According to The Hill newspaper, a dissenting note was sounded by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) who “expressed support for the content of the resolution but questioned the timing of its passage.”

“We should stand with the people of Iran and stand for their human rights,” Ellison said, adding, “I have to ask the question, is this the most well-timed time for this resolution? I do worry that we could undermine the negotiations.”

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