Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
(Senate - January 03, 2018)
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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 1 (Wednesday, January 3, 2018)] [Page S16] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] IRAN Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, one week ago today, the men and women of Iran began protesting in the streets. It began with people speaking out against a sluggish economy, and economic growth does not exist in Iran. People finally got fed up with it. Keep in mind that the country of Iran is still recognized as the financial backbone of terrorism throughout the world. The State media in Iran has reported that over 20 individuals have died in these protests for their own freedom and over 450 have been arrested since the regime's violent crackdown against the protesters. Let's keep in mind what they are protesting for. They just want some of the freedoms they know other countries have, and right now they don't see any other way to make this happen. In an act that defies transparency and democratic principles, the regime has shut down social media and messaging sites, limiting the flow of information about the protests. In other words, they are not letting the outside world know what is going on there. Iran clearly thinks they can get away with this flagrant disregard of human rights, and why shouldn't they? Under the Obama administration, Iran was able to violently crack down on democratic protesters in 2009, to continue ballistic missile tests in violation of U.N. resolutions, and to finance terrorist organizations in the region without international condemnation or repercussions. Remember, Iran is the financial backbone of terrorism in that part of the world. Just last month we learned how the Obama administration undermined law enforcement efforts against Hezbollah's drug trafficking operations. Hezbollah is well-known to be a proxy of Iran. Everybody knows it is a terrorist organization. But rather than going after the financial backing of a known terrorist organization, Obama swept it under the rug. His focus was on creating and then protecting the flawed Iran nuclear deal--a deal Obama promised would end Iran's aggressive behavior in the region and promote reforms in Iran through economic opportunity. The actual results of the deal have never been clearer. The ruling elite of Tehran continues their aggressive behavior by putting their nation's resources toward supporting Assad's regime in Syria, testing ballistic missiles, and committing human rights abuses against women and religious minorities. It is no wonder that freedom-loving men and women in Iran seek meaningful change. Fortunately, President Trump has already been clear that the United States stands behind the rights of Iranian citizens for peaceful protests. Maybe the Ayatollah doesn't recall or didn't get the message from President Trump when he was sworn in last year: Under President Trump, America is the leader of the free world again--standing up for common, human dignity and democratic values. He has backed up his support with action, weighing additional sanctions against the regime and having U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley--who is doing a great job, by the way--call for emergency U.N. meetings to address the human rights concerns. I support his efforts and look forward to working with the President and his administration to enact any needed sanctions against Iran in order to advance freedom and democracy. ____________________