october 28, 2015

State lawmakers raise concerns over human rights in Iran

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STATE CAPITOL, AZ – Several members of the Arizona House of Representatives, together with their Senate counterparts, recently sent a letter to President Obama expressing deep concern over the human rights situation in Iran. It detailed the deteriorating situation in Iran, particularly a recent rise in hangings and a crackdown on dissidents. In the letter, Arizona lawmakers insisted President Obama make human rights a priority when dealing with Iran, using all resources available to achieve this goal.

The bi-partisan letter was signed by 26 members of the state legislature, 20 House members and six Senate members. The co-signers in the House of Representatives include Speaker of the House David Gowan, Majority Leader Steve Montenegro, Majority Whip David Livingston, Representative Rick Gray, who authored the letter, and Representatives John Allen, Sonny Borrelli, Paul Boyer, Doug Coleman, Karen Fann, Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern, Jonathan Larkin, Jay Lawrence, Vince Leach, Phil Lovas, J.D. Mesnard, Darin Mitchell, Frank Pratt and T.J. Shope.

The lawmakers stated, “While much of the public’s attention has been focused on the Administration’s nuclear negotiations with President Hassan Rouhani, we cannot help but notice the appalling rise in Iran of executions, imprisonment, torture, and other forms of persecution against a wide array of pro-democracy dissidents, religious and ethnic minorities, and women.”

The letter further explained how the ongoing increase in executions and persecution of dissidents has in fact worsened under the regime of Hassan Rouhani, despite the insistence that his regime is moderate.

Concerns were expressed over the Iranian regime’s destabilizing role in the region, and its ongoing support of terrorism, pointing to attacks against Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, Iraq, as evidence of the regimes terrorism, and persecution of Iranian dissidents abroad. The letter also cited the destructive role in Syria and Yemen as further proof that Iran played a negative role in the region and was contributing to conflict and bloodshed throughout the Middle East.

The lawmakers insisted that any new relationship with Iran be predicated on the country addressing the abysmal treatment of its own citizens. The statement concluded with the following request, “If Iran seeks to renew its relationship with the United States and to regain the respect of the international community, it must first demonstrate its own respect for the most basic international norms of human rights.”

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