committee call

‘Maintain pressure’ on Iran, House Democrats urge

The statement comes amid increasingly explicit calls among some House Democrats for further punitive action against the Iranian regime

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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) speaks during Gov. Kathy Hochul's announcement to build new international terminal at JFK (John F. Kennedy) airport.

Seventeen Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a joint statement on Wednesday urging the U.S. and its allies to “maintain pressure” on Iran in response to the ongoing crackdowns against protesters. 

“We are committed to continuing to work alongside the Administration, as well as our partners and allies around the world, to maintain pressure on the regime and to demand justice and accountability for the brave Iranians who already lost their lives at the hands of state authorities and for those who, despite the brutalities and danger, continue to protest every day,” the lawmakers, led by Foreign Affairs Chair Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) and Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism Chair Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), said in the statement.

The lawmakers also said they “applaud” the administration for imposing additional sanctions on Iranian government officials involved with the attacks on protesters.

“The Iranian regime has continued to act with impunity – violently cracking down on its own citizens, holding sham trials, and now issuing a death sentence to a protest[e]r,” the statement reads. “The brutality of the Iranian regime is unacceptable and cannot be ignored.”

The statement was co-signed by 15 of the 26 Democrats on the committee, including Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Bill Keating (D-MA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Dina Titus (D-NV), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Jim Costa (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA) and Brad Schneider (D-IL).

The statement comes amid increasingly explicit calls among some House Democrats for additional punitive action against the Iranian regime.

In a tweet on Monday, Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) said that she “echo[es] calls for the Biden administration to tighten sanctions and hold the regime accountable.”

Lieu, an opponent of the original Iran nuclear deal who has thus far withheld from publicly sharing his views on efforts to reenter the deal, said the White House should “impose immediately all sanctions that are still available on Iran.”.

“The United States and decent countries around the world need to exert maximum pressure on the Iranian regime, now,” he added.

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), who has criticized the nuclear negotiations, said in a tweet on Tuesday that “the administration must apply stronger sanctions against the regime.”

And at a Tuesday committee hearing, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) questioned whether the U.S. should tighten visa restrictions on members of the Iranian government who voted to enforce tougher penalties on protesters.

“Do we need more resources? Or should we reconsider who we allow to come to the United States?” Swalwell asked. “After [they] voted for such an atrocity, it really concerns me that people could be enjoying themselves in New York.”