Five Congressional Republicans have asked the Biden administration to offer assurances that it is holding Iran accountable for human rights abuses and to guarantee to lawmakers that it will not roll back existing sanctions put in place during the Trump era to appease Tehran as part of a nuclear deal.
With the White House quietly removing several sanctions in October, and the possibility that other Trump-era sanctions will be lifted in the near future, the group of lawmakers sent a letter to the president asking him to assure Congress he will keep sanctions targeting the Iranian regime’s domestic human rights abuses and funding of terror groups.
The letter, signed by Republicans Bryan Steil (R-WI), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Jim Banks (R-IN), Doug Lamalfa (R-CA) and Pat Fallon (R-TX), said: “Your administration has claimed that its foreign police would be based on human rights and democracy. The people of Iran, who continue to contest the regime at every available opportunity, are similarly seeking human rights, democracy, and a government that represents their values and interests. Given the gap between the people and the regime in Iran, we see standing with and supporting the Iranian people as not only a strategic but also a moral one.”
They told Biden that as his administration prepares for talks with Iran over its nuclear program, where issues such as sanctions relief and nuclear-deal re-entry will be on the table, “the U.S. cannot afford to let human rights matters be ignored or moved to the back burner.”
“Providing sanctions relief to the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism would only mean empowering those who engage in domestic repression and foreign aggression,” they wrote.
The lawmakers asked Biden what specific actions his administration is taking to “hold the persons, entities, and institutions responsible for the violent crackdown in Iran” and to promote human rights and democracy in Iran.
They also asked him if he would “commit to maintaining any and all current human rights and terrorism-related sanctions on the Islamic Republican in Iran unless there is a demonstrate and sustained change in behavior” and to commit to “supporting the aspirations of the Iranian people for a more representative government.”