News / USA

US Senators Push for Human Rights Sanctions on Iran

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid