Thursday, September 07, 2006

Brownback Introduces Iran Human Rights Act

Senator Sam Brownback:
U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today introduced the Iran Human Rights Act, which would establish a State Department special envoy for human rights and democracy in Iran, support Iranian pro-democracy and human rights groups, and reform U.S.-funded broadcasts to the Iranian people.

While we have focused on Iran’s nuclear weapons program and its support of terrorism, we should not forget about the plight of the Iranian people and the human rights violations perpetrated by Iran’s tyrannical regime,” said Brownback. “The Iran Human Rights Act makes Iran’s human rights record a priority in U.S. foreign policy.” READ MORE

The Iran Human Rights Act features three key tactics to emphasize democracy building and human rights in Iran. First, the bill would create a special envoy in the State Department to coordinate U.S. government offices and non-governmental organizations with the overall goal of promoting human rights and political freedom in Iran.

The bill would also authorize financial and political assistance for democracy-promoting efforts in Iran and would define eligibility requirements for groups and individuals receiving U.S. government funds. Terrorism opposition and nonproliferation groups and pro-democracy and human rights groups would be eligible for funding and support.

Brownback continued,The Iran Human Rights Act provides Iranians with the tools and education to effect regime change from within. I hope Congress can show its support for the Iranian people by taking a stand against Iran’s tyrannical regime and passing the Iran Human Rights Act.”

The Iran Human Rights act would strengthen oversight of publicly-funded media broadcasts into Iran and require that a significant percentage of broadcast programming be devoted to promoting human rights and democracy.

Earlier today Brownback joined several dissidents and former Iranian political prisoners at the National Press Club to protest the U.S. visit of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

“Today the former President of Iran will speak at the National Cathedral, and I hope he is asked several questions about what happened during his reign of terror in Iran,” said Brownback.Mohammad Khatemi was the president of the world’s lead state sponsor of terror and wanted the United States tobow downbefore Iran. Why did Khatemi support terrorism? Why did Iran’s human rights record get worse under Khatemi’s eight years of leadership? Why did Iran persecute minorities, women, and peaceful protestors under Khatemi’s watch?”

Senator Brownback is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.