Dear Mr. Rashidi:
Thank you for contacting me about the Kurdish community and human rights in Iran. I appreciate hearing from you.
Iran has an authoritative political system that significantly limits the rights of its citizens and foreign nationals. Human rights, including the right to worship freely, freedom of speech, and democratic participation, are severely restricted, and the Iranian judicial system is not fully independent. Iran also has a long history of detaining American citizens in Iran for alleged espionage. The State Department advises that all American citizens, especially dual nationals, should carefully heed State Department travel warnings before traveling to Iran.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I strongly support promoting basic human rights abroad. I am proud of cosponsoring, in 2013 and 2015, a resolution condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of the Baha’i community and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. I was glad to see the Senate unanimously pass this resolution, Senate Resolution 148, in December 2015. In the 113th Congress, I also cosponsored the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act, a bill signed into law that creates a Special Envoy at the State Department tasked with promoting and monitoring the religious freedom of minorities, including in Iran. I am also a cosponsor of Senate Resolution 368, which calls on the Government of Iran to respect the rights of the people of Iran to freedom of speech, press, religion, association, and assembly.
On August 2nd, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This legislation directs the President to impose sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile or weapons of mass destruction programs and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This law also allows the President to impose sanctions against individuals responsible for human rights violations against the Iranian people. I was proud to support this legislation in the Senate along with 97 of my colleagues.
The United States has a long history of championing basic human rights around the world. Moving forward, I will continue to monitor developments in Iran and support the rights and well-being of its people. Should additional legislation regarding Iran be considered in the Senate, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me.