Text: H.Res.823 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (12/07/2020)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Res. 823 Engrossed in House (EH)]

H. Res. 823

                In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

                                                      December 7, 2020.
Whereas, in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2006, 
        2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Congress declared 
        that it deplored the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of 
        the Baha'i community and would hold the Government of Iran responsible 
        for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of 
        the Baha'i faith;
Whereas, since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed or executed more than 200 
        Baha'i leaders, and more than 10,000 have been dismissed from government 
        and university jobs;
Whereas the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of 
        human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/74/188) dated July 18, 
        2019, provides, in part--

    (1) the Iranian authorities and the Iranian criminal justice system 
regard the Baha'is as ``unprotected infidels''; the Baha'i faith is also 
``regarded as a misguided sect''; and ``Baha'i worship and religious 
practices are deemed heresy.'';

    (2) ``Baha'is have been murdered with impunity and violations of their 
human rights have not been investigated.'';

    (3) members of the Baha'i faith ``frequently face charges, such as, 
``breaching national security', ``propaganda against the holy regime of the 
Islamic Republic of Iran', or `propaganda activities against the regime in 
the interests of the Baha'i sect''';

    (4) ``Since August 2005, more than 1,168 Baha'is have been arrested and 
charged with vaguely worded offences.'';

    (5) ``There were a total of 95 Baha'is reportedly arrested in 2018, 
compared with at least 84 in 2017 and 81 in 2016.'';

    (6) ``On 1 January 2019, the court of appeal of Isfahan reportedly 
condemned, in separate judgments, nine Baha'i citizens to a total of 48 
years of prison. They had been charged with `membership of the illegal 
Baha'i community and propaganda against the regime by spreading the Baha'i 
faith in the society.''';

    (7) directed by a 2007 letter from the Security Unit of the Public 
Place Supervision Office of the Islamic Republic of Iran to police 
commanders throughout the country, Iranian authorities continue to apply 
economic pressure against the Baha'i community, by banning them from 
specific professions and ``halting their entry to `high earning 
businesses'''; and

    (8) ``Since 2013, there have been more than 803 incidents of violations 
of economic rights of the Baha'is, including arbitrary shop closures, 
unfair dismissals from employment and the actual or threatened revocation 
of business licenses.'';

Whereas the Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report for 
        2019, Iran section, provides, in part--

    (1) ``Non-Shia Muslims and those affiliated with a religion other than 
Islam, especially members of the Baha'i community, continued to face 
societal discrimination and harassment, and employers experienced social 
pressures not to hire Baha'is or to dismiss them from their private sector 
jobs.''; and

    (2) ``The law bars Baha'is from founding their own educational 
institutions. A Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology order 
requires universities to exclude Baha'is from access to higher education or 
expel them if their religious affiliation becomes known.'';

Whereas, on March 11, 2020, the Department of State released the Country Reports 
        on Human Rights Practices for 2019 and, in connection with Iran, the 
        report provides, in part--

    (1) Iranian authorities ``barred Baha'i students from higher 
education'', and in 2019, denied enrollment to at least 22 Baha'i college 
applicants solely because of their religious affiliation despite passing 
the national admissions test;

    (2) ``The country materially contributed to human rights abuses . . . 
in Yemen, through its support for Houthi rebels and directing authorities 
in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen to harass and detain Baha'is because of 
their religious affiliation.''; and

    (3) ``In July 2019, Iran Wire, a human rights reporting agency, 
reported the case of Hamed Rezvani, a Baha'i musician and teacher, who left 
his home in Isfahan in December 2018 and has not been heard from since. 
Repeated requests by the Rezvani family for information from police and 
local intelligence have not produced any information about his 

Whereas according to the 2020 Annual Report of the United States Commission on 
        International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)--

    (1) ``There are more than 300,000 Baha'is in Iran, who together 
constitute the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country.'';

    (2) ``Security forces also prevented the burial of two deceased Baha'i 
individuals in a Baha'i cemetery in Kerman after it was sealed in March 
2018. In October, the body of a deceased Baha'i woman was exhumed four days 
after her burial and abandoned in a desert area outside the town of 

    (3) There is a ``particular uptick in the persecution of Baha'is'', 
including of local government officials who advocated on behalf of Baha'is, 
and the Iranian government blamed Baha'is, without evidence, for wide-
spread popular protests in 2019; and

    (4) ``In July 2019, Twitter banned several official Iranian media 
accounts for incitement against Baha'is in Iran.'';

Whereas the Baha'i International Community documented a more than 50 percent 
        increase in hate propaganda directed against the Baha'is in the twelve-
        month period ending August 2020 compared to prior years with more than 
        9,500 such articles, videos, or web pages appearing in Iranian 
        government-controlled or government-sponsored media;
Whereas Iran is a member of the United Nations and a signatory to both the 
        Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on 
        Civil and Political Rights, among other international human rights 
        treaties, without reservation;
Whereas section 105 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and 
        Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8514) authorizes the President to 
        impose sanctions on individuals ``responsible for or complicit in, or 
        responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the 
        commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Iran or 
        their family members on or after June 12, 2009''; and
Whereas the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 
        112-158) amends and expands the authorities established under the 
        Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 
        to sanction Iranian human rights abusers: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) condemns the Government of Iran's state-sponsored persecution of 
        its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the Universal 
        Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and 
        Political Rights;
            (2) calls on the Government of Iran--
                    (A) to immediately release all imprisoned or detained 
                Baha'is, together with all other prisoners held solely on 
                account of their religion;
                    (B) to end its state-sponsored campaign of hate propaganda 
                against the Baha'is; and
                    (C) to reverse state-imposed policies denying Baha'is and 
                members of other religious minorities equal opportunities to 
                higher education, earning a livelihood, due process under the 
                law, and the free exercise of religious practices;
            (3) calls on the President and the Secretary of State, in 
        cooperation with responsible nations, to continue to condemn the 
        Government of Iran's continued violation of human rights and demand the 
        immediate release of prisoners held solely on account of their religion; 
            (4) urges the President and the Secretary of State to utilize 
        available authorities to impose sanctions on officials of the Government 
        of Iran and other individuals directly responsible for serious human 
        rights abuses, including abuses against the Baha'i community of Iran.


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