Thursday, February 29, 2024

US Congress calls on Biden to sanction Iran’s parliament over unrest

A bipartisan coalition in the US Congress is pressuring the Biden administration to sanction nearly all of Iran’s parliament amid "the government’s crackdown on anti-government protesters."

“Out of 290 members of Iran’s parliament, 227 should be sanctioned for providing the legal framework for Tehran’s security forces to murder, torture, and imprison dissidents who have been protesting across Iran for months,” according to a group of 26 representatives and senators from both parties.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran lacks democratic legitimacy, and the members of its parliament are not true democratic representatives of the Iranian people,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to the State and Treasury Departments.

“We urge you to take further actions—and encourage international partners to join us—to impose much clearer costs on the Iranian regime for the execution of protesters,” they added.

The letter is a sign that lawmakers from both parties are frustrated with the Biden administration’s response to the demonstrations in Iran, which began in September of last year. While the Biden administration has issued sanctions, it also has kept the door open to diplomacy with Tehran over the 2015 nuclear deal.

“We strongly encourage the Departments of State and the Treasury to levy further sanctions against Iranian officials and institutions involved in this brutal campaign of intimidation and extermination,” the lawmakers wrote.

Sanctions should also extend to Majles members’ families “who may seek to study, work, or acquire property in the United States,” according to the letter.

Protests broke out in Iran in mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old fainted at a police station in Tehran and was pronounced dead three days later in hospital. An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization concluded that Amini’s death was caused by illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iran’s intelligence community has reported several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have used their spy and propaganda apparatuses to provoke violent riots in the country.

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