Royce/Engel measure sends strong message days before Iran nuclear deal deadline

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 754, which condemns the government of Iran for its gross human rights abuses.  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 today’s legislation comes days before the Obama Administration’s agreed-to deadline of November 24 to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Report of 2014 found that Iran “continues to engage in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions.”  The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur has documented an alarming increase in the number of executions, including juveniles, since President Rouhani took office in August 2013.

On the legislation’s passage, Chairman Royce said:  “As this Administration works toward a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program, Congress should have no illusions about the brutal nature of the Iranian regime it is engaging.  It is a regime that systematically violates the fundamental human rights of its society; brutally suppresses the voices of human rights activists, journalists, and religious minorities; kills political opponents; and condones the vigilante acid attacks currently terrorizing Iranian women, many who have been doused with corrosive acid are disfigured and blinded simply because this mode of head dress does not comply with Sharia law in the view of the Basij.  This is a perversion of Persian culture.  Under the reign of Cyrus the Great, the world’s first human rights document was issued with its tolerance for all cultures and religions.    

“While Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions with relentless determination, it continues to repress millions of Iranians yearning for basic freedoms.  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.”

Note: Chairman Royce is the author of the bipartisan H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act, which broadens economic sanctions, strengthens human rights sanctions, and increases oversight of the implementation and enforcement of existing sanctions.  For more information about Chairman Royce’s efforts to stop a nuclear Iran, click HERE.