Washington, DC – Recently, two congressional letters were sent to the Administration regarding U.S. policy towards Iran. The first, led by House Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and signed by seven other legislators, comes in the wake of a recent prisoner swap that freed scientist Xiyue Wang. The bipartisan letter commends the Administration for its successful efforts in bringing back Wang, as well as Nizar Zakka, who was released earlier this year. The letter also calls for continued efforts by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien to bring back American prisoners detained in Iran, including Siamak Namzi, Baquer Namazi, Michael White, and Robert Levinson.
The second letter, led by House Representatives Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), expresses concern to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over the humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions towards Iran, specifically citing the Iranian people’s access to certain life-saving medications and medical devices that are reliant on foreign imports. The letter, signed by 17 legislators, calls on Secretary Mnuchin and the Treasury Department to conduct a “sweeping review of its sanctions campaign against Iran and identify and implement the necessary adjustments required to fulfill responsibilities under international law… to protect the Iranian people’s right to health.” Additionally, the legislators ask for OFAC to expand sanctions exemptions for medical supplies eligible for trade with Iran, as well as expand telecommunication tools under GL D-1.
PAAIA continues to urge the U.S. government to work for the return of all Americans who are unjustly being detained in Iran and to enhance sanctions relief on telecommunication tools, food, and medicine for the Iranian people.
About PAAIA: The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization that serves the interests of Iranian Americans and represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large.
December 23rd, 2019