A bipartisan House majority signed on to a resolution Thursday condemning decades of human rights violations and state-sponsored terrorism by Iran, while also expressing support for ongoing protests aimed at toppling the Tehran government.
“Two hundred twenty-two members of the 435-member House, Republican and Democrat alike, now stand side-by-side with the people of Iran who struggle to rid themselves of the theocratic thugs who have oppressed them for far too long,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who sponsors House Resolution 100 — along with 145 Republican and 76 Democratic colleagues.
“The Iranian people have had enough of the human rights abuses, the utter incompetence of the mullahs, and the thuggery of their IRGC,” McClintock told supporters at a congressional press conference, referring to the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “Their message is clear: we have had enough, and we will take no more. We don’t have to live under the thumb of dictators but can instead take our rightful place among the free people of the world, and enjoy the human rights, human dignities, human liberties and prosperity that is the hallmark of free societies.”
The resolution expresses support for opposition leader Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for Iran, which would usher in a series of democratic reforms, as well as provide for religious, ethnic, and gender-based equality. It also calls for an investigation into the executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
The announcement comes months after protests erupted in the Gulf state over the September 2022 killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who allegedly broke strict hijab rules and was apparently beaten to death by the regime’s so-called “morality police.”
In the months since, the Iranian government has killed more than 500 of its own citizens — nearly 100 of whom were women and children. International backlash to the regime’s harsh crackdown on protesters led Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to say he would “offer amnesty and reduce the sentences” for “tens of thousands” more who had been jailed, according to state-backed media.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, who first revealed the existence of secret Iranian nuclear sites in 2002, told The Post the resolution was “unprecedented” and has “angered” both Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Ayatollah himself.
“It sends a strong message to the Iranian regime that no matter what Tehran does, Congress is on the side of the people of Iran,” he said.
“We must continue applying pressure on the Iranian regime,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) told The Post. “H. Res. 100 adds our voice to the international condemnation of the ruling Mullahs. It is an important step towards promoting freedom and democracy in Iran.”
The congressional coalition issued the strongest US support to date for Iranian protesters, as President Biden vowed his administration would “free Iran” in November, only to have those remarks walked back days later by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“The president was expressing our solidarity with the protesters as he has been doing from the very onset,” she told reporters aboard Air Force One.
A bipartisan letter led by Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) two months before had pushed the Treasury Department to preserve internet access for Iranian demonstrators.
Mitra Samani, who spent almost five years as an Iranian political prisoner in the 1980s, told The Post that social media has especially helped lead the calls for regime change.
“Whatever happened forty years ago inside Iranian prisons, it’s happening again,” she said. “It’s been forty-plus years that Iranian women are at the forefront of this fight. But at the time that I was in prison, there was no social media. Everything happened behind those tall walls in prison … Now because of the technology, because of the cell phones, because of social media the whole world knows in one second.”