Senate, House members call for sanctions on Iranian parliament members

The lawmakers urge the administration to impose sanctions on 227 members of Iran’s parliament who urged a crackdown on protesters, as well as their families

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol/

Members of Iran’s parliament who urged a harsh response to widespread protests should be sanctioned by the U.S. and its international partners, a bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers said in a letter to the administration yesterday.

The letter, which was co-led by Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Katie Porter (D-CA) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), calls for further sanctions against “Iranian officials and institutions involved in this brutal campaign of intimidation and extermination,” particularly the Iranian parliament, known as the Majles, and 227 members who signed a statement last year urging the regime to “show no leniency” to protesters. It also highlights the executions and death sentences levied by the regime against protesters.

“Innocent lives hang in the balance, and there is an urgent need to deter the perpetrators of these murders from committing further violence,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers compare such an approach to the administration’s decision to sanction the Russian State Duma and 339 of its members for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran lacks democratic legitimacy, and the members of its parliament are not true democratic representatives of the Iranian people,” they argue.

The lawmakers add that the families of the Majles members should also be subject to the sanctions preventing them from entering or buying property in the U.S. under various sanctions authorities, including the Global Magnitsky Act.

The lawmakers ask that, if the administration determines that the administration lacks the authority to levy the sanctions that the lawmakers request, that it explain that determination to Congress and “immediately consult with Congress on any legislative remedy” necessary to permit the sanctioning of the relevant officials and their families.

Other signatories include Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), James Lankford (R-OK), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as well as Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Wiley Nickel (D-NC), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-NE), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Mike Levin (D-CA), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA).

Separately, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) wrote to Secretary of State Tony Blinken urging the U.S. to seek a formal finding that Iran has violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a referral to the United Nations Security Council at the upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors meeting. McCaul’s letter comes in response to recent IAEA findings that Iran has again expanded its nuclear program, including enriching uranium up to nearly 84% purity.

“In 2022, the Board of Governors adopted two resolutions urging Iran to cooperate with the probe, without a formal finding of noncompliance,” McCaul wrote. “These measures have proven to be insufficient to compel Iran to fulfill its own commitments to fully cooperate with the IAEA. These issues are particularly urgent considering recent findings by IAEA investigators.”
He added that “Iran has tested our patience for far too long and must be held to account for its ongoing intransigence in order to maintain the integrity of the IAEA as an international organization.”

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