Congress is considering a number of legislative initiatives that may be of interest to the Iranian American community. The PAAIA Public Policy Center is pleased to provide a roundup on the status of the legislation. In general, PAAIA focuses on bills and congressional actions concerning three areas: civil liberties, foreign policy towards Iran, and immigration. PAAIA recognizes that it is important that Iranian Americans be informed about legislative initiatives in these areas and the positions that their members of Congress take concerning them.
BILLS & RESOLUTIONS
H.RES.109: Condemnation of Persecution of Baha’is
On March 12, 2013, Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY/11th) introduced H.RES.109. The legislation has gained a total of 147 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom are Representatives William Lacy Clay (D-MO/1st), Mark Amodei (R-NV/2nd), Trey Gowdy (R-SC/4th), and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA/47th).
H.RES.109 calls on Iran to release all prisoners being held solely on account of their religion. It calls on the U.S. president and secretary of state, in cooperation with responsible nations, to condemn Iran’s continued human rights violations and demand that prisoners held for their religious beliefs be released. H.RES.109 also urges the president and secretary to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible to serious human rights abuses, including abuses against Iran’s Baha’i community.
H.RES.109 has been introduced in the Senate as S.RES.75.
H.R.4411: To prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions
On April 7, 2014, Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC/11th) introduced H.R.4411. The legislation has gained a total of 320 co-sponsors, the most recent of whom is Representative Curt Clawson (R-FL/19th).
H.R.4411 aims to prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial and other institutions, and for other purposes.
S.653: Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act of 2013
On January 7, 2014, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced S.653. The legislation passed the Senate with amendments by Voice Vote and on July 14, 2014, it was received in the House.
S.653 provides for the establishment of a Special Envoy to promote religious freedom for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. The duties of the envoy would include monitoring and combating acts of incitement and intolerance directed against religious minorities, working to ensure that the economic and security needs of such minorities are met, and working with foreign governments in the Near East and South Central Asia to address laws that are religiously discriminatory. The Special Envoy would be subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State.
Click here to view all of the current proposed legislation and policies that impact our community.