House Resolution 140

Mr. LANTOS submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations.

March 12, 03

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives concerning the continuous repression of freedoms within Iran and of individual human rights abuses, particularly with regard to women.

Whereas the people of the United States respect the Iranian people and value the contributions that Iran's culture has made to world civilization for over 3 millennia;

Whereas the Iranian people aspire to democracy, civil, political, and religious rights, and the rule of law, as evidenced by increasingly frequent antigovernment and anti-Khatami demonstrations within Iran and by statements of numerous Iranian expatriates and dissidents;

Whereas Iran is an ideological dictatorship presided over by an un-elected Supreme Leader with limitless veto power, an un-elected Expediency Council and Council of Guardians capable of eviscerating any reforms, and a President elected only after the aforementioned disqualified 234 other candidates for being too liberal, reformist, or secular;

Whereas the Iranian government has been developing a uranium enrichment program that by 2005 is expected to be capable of producing several nuclear weapons each year, which would further threaten nations in the region and around the world;

Whereas the United States recognizes the Iranian peoples' concerns that President Muhammad Khatami's rhetoric has not been matched by his actions;

Whereas President Khatami clearly lacks the ability and inclination to change the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran either toward the vast majority of Iranians who seek freedom or toward the international community;

Whereas political repression, newspaper censorship, corruption, vigilante intimidation, arbitrary imprisonment of students, and public executions have increased since President Khatami's inauguration in 1997;

Whereas men and women are not equal under the laws of Iran and women are legally deprived of their basic rights;

Whereas the Iranian Government shipped 50 tons of sophisticated weaponry to the Palestinian Authority despite Chairman Arafat's cease-fire agreement, consistently seeks to undermine the Middle East peace process, provides safe-haven to al-Qa'ida and Taliban terrorists, allows transit of arms for guerrillas seeking to undermine Turkey, an ally of the United States, provides transit for terrorists seeking to destabilize the United States-protected safe-haven in Iraq, and develops weapons of mass destruction;

Whereas since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and despite rhetorical protestations to the contrary, the Government of Iran has actively and repeatedly sought to undermine the United States war on terror;

Whereas there is a broad-based movement for change in Iran that represents all sectors of Iranian society, including youth, women, student bodies, military personnel, and even religious figures, that is prodemocratic, believes in secular government, and is yearning to live in freedom;

Whereas following the tragedies of September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of Iranians filled the streets spontaneously and in solidarity with the United States and the victims of the terrorist attacks; and

Whereas the people of Iran deserve the support of the people of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--

      (1) legitimizing the regime in Iran stifles the growth of the genuine democratic forces in Iran and does not serve the national security interest of the United States;

      (2) positive gestures of the United States toward Iran should be directed toward the people of Iran, and not political figures whose survival depends upon preservation of the current regime; and
      (3) it should be the policy of the United States to seek a genuine democratic government in Iran that will restore freedom to the Iranian people, abandon terrorism, and live in peace and security with the international community.


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