CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.Res. 134 on December 31, 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.
H.Res. 134 condemns the Government of Iran for its ongoing state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and urges the President and Secretary of State to use the measures described in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 to sanction officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals directly responsible for egregious human rights violation in Iran, including against the Baha’i community.
In 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008, and 2009, Congress declared that it deplored the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of the Baha’i community and would hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of the Baha’i faith.
The 2010 Department of State International Religious Freedom Report stated, “Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, more than 200 Baha’is have been killed, and many have faced regular raids and confiscation of property.”
On October 15, 2010, the United Nations Secretary-General issued a special report on human rights in Iran, stating that “the Baha’i, who comprise the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, face multiple forms of discrimination and harassment, including denial of employment, Government benefits and access to higher education.”
On December 21, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/65/226) noting “serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations” in Iran, including against the Baha’i community.
In November 2007, the Ministry of Information of Iran in Shiraz jailed Baha’is Ms. Raha Sabet, Mr. Sasan Taqva, and Ms. Haleh Roohi, for educating underprivileged children, and gave them 4-year prison terms. Ms. Sabet remains imprisoned in Iran.
In March and May of 2008, intelligence officials of the Government of Iran in Mashhad and Tehran arrested and imprisoned Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, the members of the coordinating group for the Baha’i community in Iran. In August 2010, the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced the 7 Baha’i leaders to 20-year prison terms on charges of “spying for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, propaganda against the regime and spreading corruption on earth.” The lawyer for these 7 leaders, Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, has been denied all access to the prisoners and their files.
The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-195) authorizes the President and the Secretary of State to impose sanctions on “the officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals who are responsible for continuing and severe violations of human rights and religious freedom in Iran.”
H. Res. 134 calls on the Government of Iran to immediately release the seven leaders and all other prisoners held solely on account of their religion, including Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Vahid Tizfahm, Ms. Raha Sabet, and Mr. Navid Khanjani.
H. Res. 134 urges the President and Secretary of State to utilize all available measures, such as those available under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and Executive Order 13553, to sanction officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals directly responsible for egregious human rights violations in Iran, including against the Baha’i community.
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