(Senate - January 03, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 216 (Wednesday, January 3, 2018)]
[Page S16]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  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 
  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 
  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.