SENATE RESOLUTION 154--SUPPORTING POLITICAL REFORM IN IRAN AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
(Senate - May 23, 2013)

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[Page S3864]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  SENATE RESOLUTION 154--SUPPORTING POLITICAL REFORM IN IRAN AND FOR 
                             OTHER PURPOSES

  Mr. HOEVEN (for himself and Mr. Blumenthal) submitted the following 
resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

                              S. Res. 154

       Whereas democracy, human rights, and civil liberties are 
     universal values and fundamental principles of the foreign 
     policy of the United States;
       Whereas an essential element of democratic self-government 
     is for leaders to be chosen and regularly held accountable 
     through elections that are organized and conducted in a 
     manner that is free, fair, inclusive, and consistent with 
     international standards;
       Whereas governments in which power does not derive from 
     free and fair elections lack democratic legitimacy;
       Whereas the Supreme Leader of Iran is unelected, has the 
     power to veto any decision made by the president or 
     parliament of Iran, and controls the foreign and defense 
     policy of Iran;
       Whereas the current Supreme Leader of Iran has been in 
     power since 1989 and has never been subject to a popular 
     referendum of any kind;
       Whereas elections in Iran are marred by the 
     disqualification of candidates based on their political 
     views, the absence of credible international observers, 
     widespread intimidation and repression of candidates, 
     political parties, and citizens, and systemic electoral fraud 
     and manipulation;
       Whereas elections in Iran consistently involve severe 
     restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and 
     association, including censorship, surveillance, disruptions 
     in telecommunications, and the absence of a free media;
       Whereas the current president of Iran came to office 
     through an election on June 12, 2009, that was widely 
     condemned in Iran and throughout the world as neither free 
     nor fair and provoked large-scale peaceful protests 
     throughout Iran;
       Whereas authorities in Iran continue to hold several 
     candidates from the 2009 election in indefinite detention;
       Whereas the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     banned more than 2,200 candidates from participating in the 
     March 2, 2012, parliamentary elections and refused to allow 
     domestic or international election observers to oversee those 
     elections;
       Whereas the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     seeks to prevent the people of Iran from accessing news and 
     information by disrupting access to the Internet, including 
     blocking e-mail and social networking sites, limiting access 
     to foreign news and websites, and developing a national 
     Internet that will facilitate government censorship of news 
     and information, and by jamming international broadcasts such 
     as the Voice of America Persian News Network and Radio Farda, 
     a Persian language broadcast of Radio Free Europe/Radio 
     Liberty;
       Whereas authorities in Iran have announced that a 
     presidential election will be held on June 14, 2013; and
       Whereas the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has 
     banned numerous candidates from participating in the June 14, 
     2013, presidential election: Now, therefore be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) recalls Senate Resolution 386, 112th Congress, agreed 
     to March 5, 2012, which called for free and fair elections in 
     Iran;
       (2) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to 
     democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of 
     law, including the universal rights of freedom of assembly, 
     freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of 
     association;
       (3) expresses support for freedom, human rights, civil 
     liberties, and rule of law in Iran, and for elections that 
     are free and fair;
       (4) expresses strong support for the people of Iran in 
     their peaceful calls for a representative and responsive 
     democratic government that respects human rights, civil 
     liberties, and the rule of law;
       (5) condemns the widespread human rights violations of the 
     Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
       (6) calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     to respect freedom of expression and association in Iran by--
       (A) holding elections that are free, fair, and responsive 
     to the people of Iran, including by refraining from 
     disqualifying candidates for political reasons;
       (B) making the highest level of executive power in the 
     Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable to the 
     people of Iran through free and fair elections;
       (C) ending arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of 
     harassment against media professionals, human rights 
     defenders and activists, and opposition figures, and 
     releasing all individuals detained for exercising universally 
     recognized human rights;
       (D) lifting legislative restrictions on freedom of 
     assembly, association, and expression; and
       (E) allowing the Internet to remain free and open and 
     allowing domestic and international media to operate freely;
       (7) calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran 
     to allow international election monitors to be present for 
     the June 14, 2013, election;
       (8) notes that the legitimacy of the June 14, 2013, 
     election will be further called into question if--
       (A) candidates are disqualified for political reasons;
       (B) international election monitors are not present; and
       (C) following the election, the highest level of executive 
     power in Iran remains unaccountable to the people of Iran; 
     and
       (9) urges the President of the United States, the Secretary 
     of State, and other world leaders--
       (A) to express support for the universal rights and 
     freedoms of the people of Iran, including to democratic self-
     government and fully accountable elected leaders;
       (B) to engage with the people of Iran and support their 
     efforts to promote human rights and democratic reform, 
     including supporting civil society organizations that promote 
     democracy and governance;
       (C) to support policies and programs that preserve free and 
     open access to the Internet in Iran; and
       (D) to condemn elections that are not free and fair and 
     that do not meet international standards.

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