SUPPORTING THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN TO FREE EXPRESSION
(House of Representatives - January 09, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 5 (Tuesday, January 9, 2018)]
[Pages H51-H57]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     SUPPORTING THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN TO FREE EXPRESSION

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree 
to the resolution (H. Res. 676) supporting the rights of the people of 
Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its 
crackdown on legitimate protests, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 676

       Whereas, on December 28, 2017, popular protests against the 
     Iranian regime began in the city of Mashad and rapidly spread 
     throughout the country, in the most significant anti-
     government protests in Iran since June 2009;
       Whereas the protesters have expressed numerous economic 
     grievances, including the regime's widespread corruption and 
     the Revolutionary Guard Corps' control of the country's 
     economy;
       Whereas protesters have decried the regime's costly, 
     destabilizing activities abroad, including its support for 
     terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and the murderous Assad 
     regime in Syria;
       Whereas reports indicate that more than 1,000 Iranians have 
     been arrested and almost two dozen killed in connection with 
     the protests;
       Whereas the Iranian regime has shut down mobile internet 
     access and has blocked and pressured companies to cut off 
     social media applications used by activists to organize and 
     publicize the protests;
       Whereas Congress has provided authority to license the 
     provision of communications technology to Iran to improve the 
     ability of the Iranian people to speak freely;
       Whereas, on January 1, 2018, regime officials threatened to 
     crack down, with Brigadier General Esmaeil Kowsari of Iran's 
     Revolutionary Guard Corps stating, ``If this situation 
     continues, the officials will definitely make some decisions 
     and at that point this business will be finished.'';
       Whereas Congress has provided authority to designate and 
     sanction elements of the Iranian regime involved in 
     significant corruption and serious human rights abuses;
       Whereas Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Basij 
     militia have been sanctioned by the United States for 
     planning and carrying out serious human rights abuses against 
     the Iranian people, including for the cruel and prolonged 
     torture of political dissidents;
       Whereas the regime has routinely violated the human rights 
     of Iranian citizens, including ongoing, systematic, and 
     serious restrictions of freedom of peaceful assembly and 
     association and freedom of opinion and expression, including 
     the continuing closures of media outlets, arrests of 
     journalists, and the censorship of expression in online 
     forums such as blogs and websites;
       Whereas the Department of State's 2016 Human Rights Report 
     on Iran noted ``severe restrictions on civil liberties, 
     including the freedoms of assembly, association, speech, 
     religion, and press. Other human rights problems included 
     abuse of due process combined with use of capital punishment 
     for crimes that do not meet the requirements of due process, 
     as well as cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or 
     punishment; and disregard for the physical integrity of 
     persons, whom authorities arbitrarily and unlawfully 
     detained, tortured, or killed.'';
       Whereas, on December 29, 2017, the Department of State 
     strongly condemned the arrest of peaceful protesters and 
     noted that ``Iran's leaders have turned a wealthy country 
     with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted 
     rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and 
     chaos.'';
       Whereas, on January 1, 2018, the Secretary of State for 
     Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, Boris 
     Johnson, stated that ``The UK is watching events in Iran 
     closely. We believe that there should be meaningful debate 
     about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are 
     raising and we look to the Iranian authorities to permit 
     this.'';
       Whereas, on January 2, 2018, the French Foreign Ministry 
     stated that ``French authorities are closely monitoring the 
     situation in Iran. Demonstrating freely is a fundamental 
     right. The same is true for the free movement of information. 
     France expresses its concern over the large number of victims 
     and arrests.'';
       Whereas, on January 1, 2018, a spokesman for the Canadian 
     Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that ``We call on the 
     Iranian authorities to uphold and respect democratic and 
     human rights'' and ``We are encouraged by the Iranian people 
     who are bravely exercising their basic right to protest 
     peacefully. Canada will continue to support the fundamental 
     rights of the Iranians, including freedom of expression.'';
       Whereas Iran is a member of the United Nations, voted for 
     the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is a signatory 
     to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 
     among other international human rights treaties; and
       Whereas, in violation of these and other international 
     obligations, Iranian regime officials continue to violate the 
     fundamental human rights of the Iranian people: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

[[Page H52]]

       (1) stands with the people of Iran that are engaged in 
     legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive, 
     corrupt regime;
       (2) condemns the Iranian regime's serious human rights 
     abuses against the Iranian people, significant corruption, 
     and destabilizing activities abroad;
       (3) notes the statements of support for the protestors from 
     key allies and calls on all democratic governments and 
     institutions to clearly support the Iranian people's right to 
     live in a free society;
       (4) demands that the Iranian regime abide by its 
     international obligations with respect to human rights and 
     civil liberties, including freedoms of assembly, speech, and 
     press;
       (5) urges the Administration to use targeted sanctions and 
     work to convene emergency sessions of the United Nations 
     Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council 
     to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by 
     the Iranian regime and establish a mechanism by which the 
     Security Council can monitor such violations;
       (6) encourages the Administration to expedite the license 
     of communications technology to Iran to improve the ability 
     of the Iranian people to speak freely;
       (7) calls on companies to reject requests by the regime to 
     cut off the Iranian people from social media and other 
     communications platforms;
       (8) respects the proud history and rich culture of the 
     Iranian nation and fully supports efforts by the people of 
     Iran to promote the establishment of basic freedoms that 
     build the foundation for the emergence of a freely elected, 
     open, and democratic political system; and
       (9) urges the President and the Secretary of State to work 
     with the international community to ensure that violations of 
     human rights are part of all formal and informal multilateral 
     or bilateral discussions with and regarding Iran.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) and the gentleman from California (Mr. 
Sherman) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida.


                             General Leave

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include extraneous material on this measure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel 
for their swift action in putting this important and timely resolution 
together.
  The world has been witnessing the people of Iran taking to the 
streets en masse to protest the radical regime in Tehran. They have 
made it clear that the regime's policies have done nothing but harm 
Iran.
  We have seen large-scale protests in Iran before, most notably in 
2009, but these protests are different, Mr. Speaker. This time, unlike 
in 2009, America has not shied away from doing the right thing. The 
administration has expressed vocal support for the people of Iran, and 
it has warned the regime that we are watching how it responds.
  The public discontent is palpable, and these protests have exposed 
the cracks behind the regime's veneer. For decades, the hardline regime 
has squandered Iran's vast resources in pursuit of spreading the 
revolutionary ideology and of achieving an illicit nuclear weapons 
program.
  The regime's rule by fear and rule by intimidation--the human rights 
abuses, the silencing of the opposition, the abuses of ethnic and 
religious minorities, the restrictions imposed against women under 
sharia law, and the corruption, none of these are being taken anymore, 
sitting down, by millions of Iranians.
  Let us not be fooled, Mr. Speaker. Rouhani is no moderate. He is an 
opportunist, and he is a lifelong adherent to the regime and its 
hateful ideology.
  That is why this resolution is so important. We must make it clear 
that we truly support the people of Iran and their aspirations for a 
free and democratic society. Their protests are a referendum on the 
regime, and we must make it clear to all the regime officials that they 
will be held accountable for any human rights abuses in response to 
these protests.
  But, Mr. Speaker, we must also not lose sight of the bigger picture. 
These protests are important, and it is important that we take action 
on human rights abuses. But this is just one aspect of the regime's 
illicit behavior, and sanctions against human rights violators is but 
one tool that we have at our disposal. The totality of the regime's 
nefarious and illicit activity is what the people of Iran are 
protesting against, and it would be unwise for us to lose focus of that 
bigger picture.
  So while it is important that we stand here today in support of the 
people of Iran and we make it clear that there will be consequences for 
human rights abuses, we must make sure that we see the whole board here 
and connect the dots, and that means, Mr. Speaker, using all the tools 
at our disposal, because they are not isolated issues. They are all 
connected.
  So, with that, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and to 
continue supporting a strong response to all of Iran's illicit activity 
and the use of all of the tools that we have at our disposal.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill.
  In this House, we were on both sides of the Iran nuclear deal, but we 
were united in knowing that Iran is not an ally of the United States--
at least, the Islamic Republic of Iran is not--and this House never 
agreed to ignore extreme human rights abuses simply because the 
Government of Iran has agreed to limitations on its nuclear program.
  This resolution puts us on the right side of history by stating that 
the House of Representatives stands with the people of Iran and 
condemns the Iranian regime's serious human rights abuses. It goes on 
to encourage the administration to expedite the licensing of 
communications technology to entities in Iran to improve the ability of 
the Iranian people to speak freely and also calls on companies around 
the world not to allow this regime to use any device or any technology 
to cut the Iranian people from social media and from other 
communications platforms.

                              {time}  1430

  We have seen in Iran a people dedicated to democracy and dedicated to 
improving their own lives. Over 1,000 Iranians have been arrested, and 
at least two dozen have been killed; this in a country with a great 
history. The Cyrus Cylinder is perhaps the first human rights document 
in world history. A model of it stands in the United Nations to 
commemorate the dedication of the Iranian people to human rights.
  Today, they shout ``No Gaza;'' ``No Lebanon;'' ``No Syria;'' ``My 
life for Iran,'' because they know that this regime's involvement in 
supporting terrorism around the world has not only devastated Syria, 
where Assad clings to power and half a million people have died, not 
only brings death and destruction to Lebanon and Yemen, but it has also 
devastated the Iranian economy, because this regime insists upon 
supporting Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis. Those are only the 
terrorist regimes whose names begin with H.
  Of course, this regime has killed over 5,000 members of the LGBT 
community solely for who they are and whom they love.
  This is a regime whose human rights record should, indeed, be 
criticized by the formal adoption of a resolution by this House of 
Representatives.
  I also want to point out that the travel ban or Muslim ban 
implemented by this administration is harming our efforts to support 
the Iranian people at this time of crisis.
  It says that if leaders of these demonstrations want to come to my 
community, where they have tens of thousands of Iranian-American 
supporters, they can't do it. And if, God forbid, they fear for their 
lives and want to flee, even if they are carefully vetted, they cannot 
set foot on American soil.
  So I look forward to us standing with the people of Iran and 
eliminating the Muslim ban. I look forward to this House saying that we 
stand with the people who are putting their lives on the line to fight 
for democracy.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Rohrabacher), who is

[[Page H53]]

the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging 
Threats.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 676, 
which puts America squarely on the side of courageous Iranians who risk 
their lives in opposition to the corruption and oppression of the 
mullah regime in Tehran.
  Iran is a country made up of oppressed minorities. It is a country 
made up of Kurds--there are more Kurds in Iran than there are in Iraq--
Balochis, Azerias, Arabs, and yes, anticlerical Persians. These people 
have lived under a regime that terrorizes their population into 
submission and supports terrorist attacks on other nations.
  Unlike our last President, who closed his ears to the pleas of the 
Iranian oppressed and brutalized people--and also, I might add, 
facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars to that regime in the 
name of an arms control agreement--that President is gone, and our new 
President is making us proud today by endorsing the rights of those who 
are struggling for freedom and putting our country and people squarely 
on the side of those people who share our values in freedom and justice 
throughout the world.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Schneider).
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the bipartisan 
resolution, H. Res. 676, offered by my friends, Chairman Ed Royce and 
Ranking Member Eliot Engel, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I 
thank my friend from Florida and my friend from California for leading 
us in this conversation today.
  Less than 2 weeks ago, on December 28, protests began in towns and 
villages throughout Iran. These quickly and organically grew to become 
the largest antigovernment demonstrations the country has witnessed 
since those remarkable demonstrations in the summer of 2009.
  Iranian citizens have taken to the streets to decry the regime's 
corruption, economic mismanagement, and destabilizing activities 
abroad, including support for such terrorist groups as Hezbollah.
  The Iranian people, the good men and women seeking relief from the 
failings of the current regime, deserve our support. Their voices 
deserve to be heard. Not surprisingly, the response of the regime in 
Tehran to these protests have been predictably draconian.
  News reports suggest dozens of Iranians have been killed in the 
crackdown on protests and more than 1,000 Iranians have been arrested. 
In an effort to silence the protesters, the Iranian Government has 
blocked access to social media platforms used to organize and spread 
word of the demonstrations.
  This most recent crackdown is part of a long history of human rights 
abuses by the Iranian Government, both at home through violent 
oppression and abroad through funding of groups that support terror.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud that last month the House passed my amendment 
to the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act to help crack down on 
Iranian human rights abusers and ensure U.S. sanctions are best 
positioned to improve the human rights situation in Iran.
  This is but one step. We need to do more to stop Iran's repression 
and persecution of different religious faiths, including Sunni Muslims, 
Christians, and Baha'is. We need to do more to stop the regime's 
arbitrary and unlawful killings. We must do more to protect the Iranian 
people's right to freedom of expression.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman from Illinois an 
additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. This resolution is an opportunity for the American 
people to stand with the peaceful Iranian protesters and condemn the 
maligned activities of the oppressive Iranian regime.
  In the days ahead, I urge this administration to hold the Iranian 
regime accountable to its international human rights obligation as well 
as work with our allies at the United Nations to condemn and sanction 
Iran for its ongoing human rights violations.
  The Iranian Government is seeking to silence its people. Today's 
resolution shows we are watching and that we stand with the people of 
Iran. I urge my colleagues to support this important resolution.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), who is the chairman of the Foreign 
Affairs' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, 
and International Organizations.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of H. Res. 676 and in solidarity with the people of Iran who 
courageously took to the streets in the recent weeks to protest their 
country's barbaric dictatorship.
  I thank my good friends, Ed Royce and Eliot Engel, for their 
leadership in bringing this resolution to the floor. I also thank the 
chairwoman emeritus for her tremendous work over the years towards Iran 
in trying to get a policy that respects fundamental human rights and 
also ends their barbaric reign of terror and terrorism.
  Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks, tens of thousands of 
Iranians participated in nationwide protests to condemn the corruption, 
repression, and brutality that together represent the unique legacy of 
Iran's nearly 40-year-old authority theocracy.
  The regime responded with characteristic coercion, intimidating 
activists and employing government-sponsored thugs and military units 
to quell the unrest. Approximately 20 protesters died in clashes with 
security forces. At least 1,000 people were arrested. I am sure those 
1,000 are being tortured as we meet here today. Some estimates place 
the number closer to 4,000 people.
  This unrest is the inevitable consequence of a dictatorship built on 
brutality and corruption in the service of domestic repression and 
regional conquest. Ambassador Haley was absolutely right when she told 
the U.N. Security Council: ``When the rights of the people are denied, 
the people rightly resist. If the concerns are not acknowledged, then 
peace and security are inevitably threatened.''
  I am very proud of the work this Congress has done over the years. In 
my subcommittee, we have held hearings on human rights abuses in Iran, 
including with Pastor Saeed Abedini, who did a tremendous job with his 
wife in trying to effectuate his relief.
  We must hold Iran to account for the treatment of the hundreds of 
jailed protesters and not let their faith be forgotten with the next 
news cycle. We must work tirelessly to secure the liberty of our own 
citizens, including Xiyue Wang, a graduate student from my own State of 
New Jersey, who has spent the past 519 days in the Evin Prison complex.
  Mr. Speaker, again, I urge support of the resolution.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Suozzi), a member of our committee.
  Mr. SUOZZI. Mr. Speaker, the people live like paupers while the 
mullahs live like gods.
  For weeks, tens of thousands of brave Iranians have courageously 
stood up in over 70 cities and chanted: ``The people live like paupers 
while the mullahs live like gods.''
  They challenge their failed government. They have done so in the face 
of violent repression, imprisonment, torture, and even death.
  Why?
  They are fed up. They are fed up with poverty and unemployment; fed 
up with economic depravation and rampant corruption; fed up with an 
oppressive theocratic regime that mismanages their own country, 
mistreats its own people, and spends billions of dollars sowing the 
seeds of war and funding terrorists while its people suffer.
  Ayatollahs recklessly pursued nuclear weapons instead of creating 
jobs and building infrastructure for their own people. The regime's 
apologists have long argued that these policies are popular and they 
give Iranians a national sense of pride, restoring their place as a 
regional power.
  A regional power?
  It is more like regional thugs.
  In Iraq, Iranian-backed militias have executed and beat civilians, 
looted homes, and destroyed people's lives. In

[[Page H54]]

Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hezbollah aims tens of thousands of rockets at 
Israeli citizens. Syria backs Bashar al-Assad's vicious regime. Iran 
sends weapons and money to militants in Yemen, Bahrain, and Gaza. It 
has become the biggest purveyor of mayhem in the Middle East, pouring 
billions of dollars into nefarious activities while their own people 
are impoverished.
  Today, I rise with my colleagues to support the Iranian protesters 
and the bipartisan H. Res. 676. The United States and our allies should 
use the menu of sanctions available to us to target human rights 
violators and the Ayatollah's thugs who forcefully repress their fellow 
citizens.
  We must ensure the protesters have access to social media, and we 
must let them know that we support them. Ayatollahs must know that the 
free world is watching.
  The people live like paupers while the mullahs live like gods. The 
time has come for the people to rise up and change it.

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. McCaul), the chairman of the Committee on Homeland 
Security, as well as a senior member on the Committee on Foreign 
Affairs.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this 
resolution condemning the Iranian regime's crackdown on legitimate 
protests and to show the world that America stands with the Iranian 
people who want peace, prosperity, and freedom.
  For many years, we have known the regime in Iran has fueled 
radicalism and violence across the Middle East as the world's leading 
state sponsor of terror. But over the last few weeks, we have seen the 
brutal tactics Iran's leaders are willing to take to silence protesters 
who are fed up with extremism, corruption, and incompetence coming from 
their capital. The protesters deserve to have their voices heard 
without fear of retaliation.
  Today, Iranians are not citizens who are free to choose their own 
destinies. They are subject to a fanatical dictatorship that fears the 
people it rules by denying their freedoms.
  Sadly, the Obama administration believed that the Ayatollah and his 
radical clerics would be willing partners for peace, naively rewarding 
them with billions of dollars in sanction relief. It is clear, however, 
that, since the signing of the flawed Iran deal, the regime's behavior 
has only gotten worse by continuing its support for terror groups like 
Hezbollah and its backing of Houthi rebels in Yemen, all in pursuit of 
establishing a Shia crescent.
  Fortunately, the current administration and this Congress will not be 
so easily fooled or complicit in their foreign adventurism. Leaders of 
rogue states will say whatever they must to bring unearned concessions 
from great powers.
  But if it is real change that is desired, we must apply more 
pressure. We cannot trust a country's government to be peaceful with 
other nations if it resorts to violence against its own people it is 
supposed to protect.
  That is why I will soon introduce legislation that requires the Trump 
administration to determine whether senior members of the Government of 
Iran are responsible or complicit in human rights abuses, corruption, 
or censorship.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman from Texas an 
additional 30 seconds.

                              {time}  1445

  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, the bill also calls out the Iranian regime's 
practice of taking American citizens and other foreign nationals 
hostage, and lays out several steps the administration should take in 
conjunction with our allies to put an end to this practice.
  A time will come when the tyrants of Tehran are held accountable for 
their actions. After many decades of authoritarian rule, Iranians 
deserve to be free. When democracy finally does flourish in Iran, the 
people will remember who stood by their side.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Deutch).
  Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, in the past couple of weeks, tens of 
thousands of Iranian citizens from a broad cross-section of society 
took to the streets to demand accountability and change in their 
country. This was the largest mass protest since the Green Revolution 
in 2009.
  Tragically, both ended in the same predictable darkness: harsh 
government crackdowns in which innocent peaceful protesters were 
arrested, were jailed, and were killed.
  In the latest episode, more than 3,700 Iranian protesters were 
arrested and nearly two dozen were killed. The Iranian people deserve 
better and they deserve the support of all peoples who value and yearn 
for freedom.
  Today's resolution sends an important message to the Iranian people, 
that we stand with them in their legitimate pursuit of reforms from a 
regime that would silence their voices and steal their fundamental 
liberties.
  I also believe we should do more. I am proud to have introduced with 
Chairman McCaul, along with support of Chairman Royce and Ranking 
Member Engel, the Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability 
Act that goes one step further than condemnation to actually impose 
sanctions against those Iranian officials perpetrating these egregious 
human rights violations, as well as those responsible for kidnapping 
Americans, Americans like my own constituent, Bob Levinson, who has now 
spent more than 10 years in captivity.
  Last week, we welcomed in a new year, and Bob's family again ushered 
in that new year without Bob by their side. For his sake and for the 
sake of the Iranian people trying to hold their own regime accountable 
for caring more about Assad and Hamas than they do about helping their 
own citizens, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H. Res. 676 to 
help bring the Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act 
to the floor, and let's make sure that human rights remain exactly 
where they should in American foreign policy, right at the center of 
our agenda.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. Poe), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee 
on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, who tells it just like it 
is.
  Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding 
me time.
  Mr. Speaker, make no doubt about it, the number one terrorist in the 
world is the Ayatollah in charge of the butchery against his own people 
in Iran. He is the number one guy--the most wanted man in the world, as 
far as I am concerned, for terrorism lies at his feet.
  He, along with the mullahs of Iran, continues to crack down violently 
on the people of Iran who are exercising a human right to protest the 
government that is in charge. The regime's brutality against its people 
knows no limit. To silence the crimes of the Ayatollah in Iran, they 
have blocked much of the internet and social media, including the 
telegram and Instagram. We must make sure that this important line of 
communication stays open for the Iranian people.
  In 2009, there were about 1 million folks in Iran who had access to 
social media. Now there are about 20 million people, I understand, who 
have access to social media. Our administration must make sure that the 
American businesses and technology are still available to allow the 
Iranian people to document the regime's crimes against the people.
  The Iranian people can bring about change on their own, but we must 
help by providing the necessary tools to empower democratic movements 
that the mullahs stand in fear of.
  Mr. Speaker, in 2009, the Iranians rose up against the mullahs, but 
our government merely watched the arena of freedom in the streets of 
Iran while our government sat in the stands as a spectator. This is not 
a spectator sport. This is about freedom and human dignity.
  The United States must politically, publicly, and economically 
support the people of Iran and let them know we will not be in the 
stands as a spectator any longer, and we must penalize the mullahs and 
the Ayatollah economically for their crimes.
  And that is just the way it is.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).

[[Page H55]]

  

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me thank both gentlemen from 
California for their leadership and for their very important work on a 
very important crisis fight for human rights and freedom.
  Just yesterday I rose to the floor of the House to recount my 
experience over the weekend joining the Iranian-American community in 
Houston on a busy corner at Post Oak and Westheimer. We joined together 
as Americans to begin to articulate that there is no divide when it 
comes to the freedom of speech, freedom for all to have access to 
protests and democracy.
  So today I rise to support H. Res. 676, and I rise to speak in horror 
of the 1,000 Iranians that have been arrested and almost two dozen 
killed. We mourn their loss. We recognize that it has to be all of us, 
our allies included, that must stand and join in the language of this 
resolution, and it is, of course, to ensure that sanctions are 
pointedly targeted at those who want to oppress the protesters.
  Interestingly enough, the protesters are now from rural and the 
middle class. The questions of the economy are very much a part of it, 
that Iranians are not able to live and to be able to have economic 
opportunity. Their young people have no growth. So this is far 
reaching, which is, of course, surprising to the regime.
  They were hoping to quash this. They have no answers. And the answers 
should be a concerted, committed, and dedicated group of allies, 
including the United States, leading in efforts to support these 
protesters.
  So I rise today to join in standing with the people of Iran in their 
legitimate and peaceful protest. I ask that the regime be condemned, 
and I ask that the communications, Mr. Speaker, be allowed to continue 
and that our companies don't reject----
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds to the 
gentlewoman from Texas.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California 
for yielding.
  I believe it is so important that the communication--the work that we 
are getting ready to do here in the United States, to provide 
communications technology, needs to go forward. We must include in our 
petition--meaning our petition as Members of Congress--that our 
companies do not deny or quash the rights of Iranians to communicate 
with each other for peace, freedom, and democracy.
  Our message to the regime is: it is time to open the doors of freedom 
in Iran. Iranian Americans, Americans, the United States Congress, and, 
of course, all of our government stand for peace, freedom, dignity, and 
democracy for the people of Iran.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce), and I ask unanimous consent that 
he control that time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Florida?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) is 
recognized.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today we stand with the people of Iran. We stand with 
people who are engaged in legitimate protests against an oppressive, 
corrupt regime.
  There is a certain irony to this. This is a great people, the people 
of Iran. It was the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, who drafted the 
first declaration of human rights, the Cyrus Cylinder.
  As you enter the United Nations, you see this quotation from him. 
This was a document meant to protect other cultures and it secured a 
special place in the history of civilization. His humanitarian values 
that he laid out of freedom for all peoples, respect for culture, for 
religious liberty, recognition of the fact that it is better to be 
loved than to be feared, these are remarkable attributes, especially at 
that point in time, and they were handed down as part of this deep 
Persian culture.
  We, who live in free societies, owe a great debt to the Iranian 
people. They are the heirs to this culture. They are those who hold 
those values and ideas for governance that originally inspired the 
European Enlightenment, leaders of our own government here, our own 
Founding Fathers. It was Thomas Jefferson who told his grandson: These 
are the ideals you study first of Cyrus the Great in terms of 
governance.
  Now, it is amazing that Iranians at this moment enjoy far fewer 
rights than their forefathers did. Cyrus was lauded for the protections 
he offered religious and ethnic minorities. We look at the state of 
affairs today and we see the repression of Iran's ethnic and religious 
minority populations from the Azerbaijanis to the Balochs, from the 
Kurds and the Arabs to the Baha'is and the Christians and the 
Zoroastrians.
  You know, the regime authorities routinely deny those citizens the 
most basic human rights, and they do it through harassment and 
intimidation and detention and violence. And if you want to know what 
kind of violence, talk to the young Persians or talk to the young 
minorities who suffered through the torture in those prisons.
  Why do they suffer through it?
  Because they are trying to bring attention to the oppressiveness of 
that regime. Those young people yearn for human rights. They stand for 
the celebrated culture of the Persian people and for human rights. As 
this resolution makes clear, the United States House of Representatives 
fully supports those who have taken to the streets in Iran to exercise 
the fundamental freedom of expression and assembly.
  We join them in the hope that their bravery will build the foundation 
for the emergence of a freely elected, open democratic political system 
in Iran. It is a moral imperative to support those who risk their lives 
demanding the freedoms that people in free societies enjoy every day.

  That is why this resolution calls on all democratic governments and 
institutions worldwide to join us in clearly supporting the Iranian 
people's right to live in a free society. We all face a clear choice. 
We stand with the protesters and we stand with those who demand the 
basic rights and opportunities enjoyed in free societies.
  We are not going to stand with the oppressors, those who steal the 
wealth of a great nation to enrich themselves and to fund violence 
abroad. Supporting the people of Iran is a strategic imperative. These 
brave men and women are standing up against the Revolutionary Guard's 
violent intervention in Syria and Lebanon as well. We must join them in 
demanding an end to the single greatest source of instability in the 
Middle East, and this is this obsession that the regime has with this 
ideology.
  In standing with the Iranian people, we must explain that they are 
not the target of our sanctions. U.S. sanctions target the oppressive 
destabilizing regime, not the people of Iran. That is why, as this 
resolution makes clear, Congress has provided authority to license 
communications technology that improves the ability of the Iranian 
people to speak freely.
  Today we call on the agencies involved to expedite those licenses. 
U.S. international broadcasting must also turn up the volume of its 
efforts in Iran and convey a message of hope and support. This should 
be conveyed by the young that know that this debate today in the 
American people's House is about this issue. Iranians must know that 
they are not alone in their struggle for freedom.
  We also call on companies to reject requests by the regime to cut off 
the Iranian people from social media.

                              {time}  1500

  These technologies are at their best when they are used to empower 
people and undermine the efforts of oppressive regimes.
  There is more we can do, and I welcome Chairman McCaul and 
Congressman Deutch's introduction of bipartisan legislation that will 
give the administration greater leverage to target those responsible 
for ordering and carrying out human rights abuses in Iran. This 
includes the regime's practice of holding Americans and other 
foreigners hostage. Many of the regime's hostages are people of Iranian 
descent who came to visit family members, came to visit loved ones.
  I am also working to introduce legislation that has the same goal as 
those who have bravely taken to the streets: to push the corrupt 
revolutionary

[[Page H56]]

guard out of the Iranian economy. In doing so, it seeks to deny the 
guards the funds they use to hold power over the Iranian people while 
destabilizing Syria and destabilizing Lebanon.
  Mr. Speaker, Congress and the administration have a great 
opportunity. We must work together on an approach to Iran that empowers 
the Iranian people and targets the corrupt regime which oppresses a 
great people. We cannot be quiet with the passage of this resolution. 
We state that America stands with the Iranian people.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I commend our committee chairman for an 
outstanding speech.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. 
Gottheimer).
  Mr. GOTTHEIMER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a proud cosponsor of H. 
Res. 676, to urge support for this bipartisan resolution to help stop 
terror.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Royce and my good friend Ranking Member 
Eliot Engel for their leadership on this issue, and I am glad that this 
bipartisan resolution has proceeded swiftly to a vote on the House 
floor.
  Mr. Speaker, the revolution of 1979 marked an enormous step backwards 
for global security and for the basic rights of the Iranian people, the 
longest suffering victims of this corrupt terrorist regime.
  From its very beginnings, the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the 
control of its Supreme Leaders, has repeatedly violated the fundamental 
human rights of its own citizens.
  In August, the U.N. Special Reporter on the Situation of Human Rights 
in Iran highlighted the Khamenei regime's many ongoing abuses, 
``including the arbitrary detention and prosecution of individuals for 
their legitimate exercise of a broad range of rights; the persecution 
of human rights defenders, journalists, students, trade union leaders, 
and artists; a high level of executions, including of juvenile 
offenders; the use of torture and ill treatment; widespread violations 
of the right to a fair trial and due process of law, especially before 
revolutionary courts; and a high level of discrimination against women 
and religious and ethnic minorities.''
  Beginning late last month, protestors across the country have taken 
to the streets to decry their dismal economic prospects; Iran's costly, 
aggressive, and destabilizing actions throughout the region; and an 
antidemocratic regime that stifles their rights and aspirations and 
supports terror. These brave men and women, engaged in peaceful 
demonstrations, have every right to demand change from their corrupt 
and oppressive terrorist government.
  While Iranians live under a brutal, authoritarian mullahcracy at 
home, their government insists on bankrolling terror throughout the 
region. Iran has capitalized on sanctions relief, bolstering its 
arsenal of conventional arms and its illegal ballistic missile program, 
and increasing the funding of heinous terrorist organizations and 
proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq, as well as propping up the 
murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
  As the world's leading sponsor of terror, Iran provides more than 
$800 million, annually, to Hezbollah and recently renewed its support 
for Hamas. Iranian-backed forces are also attempting to gain a foothold 
in Syria, right up against Israel's border, to threaten our vital ally 
and the leading democracy in the region.
  There should be nothing partisan about having the backs of brave men 
and women anywhere who risk death to speak out for what is right and 
against a terrorist regime. This bipartisan resolution condemns the 
regime's censorship, violent crackdowns, and systematic repression. We 
must send a clear message to Iran that its destructive behavior 
throughout the Middle East will not be tolerated.
  Mr. Speaker, the time has come for the people of Iran to enjoy their 
fundamental right to a peaceful and democratic government. I urge each 
of my colleagues to join me in supporting this bipartisan resolution to 
help stop terror.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Perry).
  Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, simple things mean a lot. That is why I, too, stand in 
support of H. Res. 676, which sends a clear message that the United 
States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protestors by the rogue 
Iranian regime.
  Mr. Speaker, the Iranian people deserve to be free. The last 
administration witnessed such protests about 8 years ago and turned its 
back. The world saw that America turned their back on the freedom 
effort and movement in Iran.
  The current administration has noticed immediately and recognized 
immediately, and we are here today to say that no longer will terrorism 
be appeased; no longer should we help pay for the funding of Hezbollah 
and Hamas through payments in the Iran nuclear deal.
  Simple things mean a lot, and simple things like this resolution, Mr. 
Speaker, mean that we stand with the Iranian people who breathe and 
live to be free, just like we do.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner), a member of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs.
  Mrs. WAGNER. Mr. Speaker, thank you for demonstrating that the House 
of Representatives stands with the people of Iran and condemns the 
country's brutal regime.
  I rise today to applaud the Iranian people, who are struggling for 
dignity, human rights, and economic security under a shadow of 
oppression. We are a hemisphere away, but our hearts are with the brave 
men and women who are raising their voices in hopes that they will 
finally be free from the reins of tyranny.
  The Iranian people are protesting the abuses of the Islamic 
Revolutionary Guard Corps, and we must support their outrage by 
severely punishing and containing the IRGC with suffocating sanctions.
  We must work with our allies to help Iranians communicate on the 
internet without restrictions. We must broadcast footage from 
protestors and hold authorities accountable for abuses.
  America is an enthusiastic friend of the Iranian people. We are 
thrilled to support their aspirations for justice and liberty, and we 
stand with them as they take to the streets and demand an end to 
oppression.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Duncan of Tennessee). The time of the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) has expired.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Royce), and I ask unanimous consent that he be able to 
control that time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin).
  Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in favor of this resolution 
demonstrating our support for the Iranian people's cry for democracy.
  On December 28, 2017, tens of thousands of Iranians courageously 
poured into the streets to protest the brutality of President Rouhani's 
regime. Instead of caring for its own people, the Iranian regime 
focuses all of its energy on suffocating their cry, murdering 
protestors, while choking off communication via the internet and social 
media apps.
  We have been down this road before. This is our second chance.
  The Iranian people, smothered by their own government, look to us, 
and, instead of the chill of silence, this time, they are rightfully 
met with the full, immediate, and resounding support of the United 
States. We stand in solidarity with millions of Iranians desperate for 
support to help them turn the tide in Tehran and all throughout Iran.
  The people of Iran will be losing a great champion with the 
retirement of Chairman Royce, who has served over the course of the 
last three terms as chairman of our committee. The fight continues.
  Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my 
time.

[[Page H57]]

  

  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a bipartisan resolution. It will put America and 
this Congress on the side of the Iranian people.
  Regardless of which side you are on as to the nuclear deal, we are 
all dedicated to peace and democracy in Iran and an end to its support 
for terrorism around the world, support that not only causes damage 
outside Iran's borders but, as the demonstrators shouting in over 50 
Iranian cities have clearly indicated, devastates the economy of Iran.
  To us here in Washington, we may believe that the face of this regime 
is that of Foreign Minister Zarif, the dapper, debonair diplomat, 
meeting with us in Geneva and Vienna. But the real face of this regime 
is that of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Kurdish child found washed up on 
the beach in Turkey after fleeing the war in Syria, a war that has 
claimed nearly 500,000 lives because, and only because, Assad has been 
propped up by the Iranian regime. The other faces of this regime are 
the real faces of Iranian protestors who put their lives on the line 
for the freedom of their country.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that deserves the support of both sides 
of the aisle.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 676.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

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