News / USA

US Senators Push for Human Rights Sanctions on Iran

Cindy Saine

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced legislation to punish Iranian officials responsible for human rights abuses against their own people.  The announcement came on the day that Iran marked its 31st anniversary as an Islamic Republic and its president declared the country is now a nuclear state.  

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona told reporters on Capitol Hill that Thursday's anniversary marks a human rights violation record by the Iranian government many would rather forget.

"Thirty-one years of a regime that puts its own selfish interests and those of foreign terrorist groups ahead of the needs of the Iranian people," said John McCain. "Thirty-one years of justice denied, freedom curtailed and dignity trampled."

Senator McCain led a bipartisan group of about 10 senators in  introducing legislation requiring President Barack Obama to compile a list of individuals in Iran who are responsible for human rights violations against Iranian citizens and their families anywhere in the world.  Senator McCain said the list would then be made public on the web sites of the U.S. State Department and Treasury Department.

"We will shine a light on the names of Iran's human rights abusers, and we will make them famous for their crimes," he said.

Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana said the push for the human rights bill is timely, not only because it is the day of Iran's 31st anniversary,but because security forces attacked anti-government protesters Thursday at the anniversary celebrations in Tehran.

"People are being beaten in the streets as we speak, and their president announced today that they perhaps have taken major steps forward to becoming a nuclear power," said Evan Bayh.

The second part of the legislation would block U.S. visas and freeze any U.S. assets belonging to those responsible for crackdowns on Iranian journalists, dissidents, political opponents and other citizens.

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut said the bill enjoys broad bipartisan support in the Senate among Republicans and Democrats, and predicted that every senator would vote for it.

"I hope that this legislation not only sends a message to their abusers, but also sends a message to the protesters, to the members of the green movement," said Joseph Lieberman.

Senator McCain, who was the Republican opponent to President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election said President Obama's policy of reaching out to Iranian leaders is not working.

"I hope that the administration will now understand that this unclenching of the fist has not worked, it is has been over a year's delay, and the Iranians meanwhile have proceeded inexorably towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons," said McCain.

At Thursday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs doubted claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad, saying we do not believe they have the capability to enrich [uranium] to the degree they say they are enriching.   Gibbs also noted the universal rights of people everywhere to peaceful protests, and said the Iranians are doing just that.

The Obama administration moved ahead this week on new sanctions targeting companies, banks and other entities affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps suspected of aiding Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid