PAAIA Celebrates the Introduction of the Toomaj Act a Milestone for Human Rights and Hostages Taken in Iran

PAAIA Celebrates the Introduction of the TOOMAJ Act: A Milestone for Human Rights and Hostages Taken in Iran 

Washington, DC — The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is proud to announce the introduction of the Targeting Oppressive Officers to Mitigate Abuse in the Iranian Judiciary Act, also known as the TOOMAJ Act. If passed, the TOOMAJ Act would impose targeted sanctions on the individuals involved with all 70 branches of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts in Iran including those that unjustly imprison Iranian Americans.  

This legislative step, introduced by Representatives Young Kim (R-CA40), Adam Schiff (D-CA30), Mike Lawler (R-NY17), and David Trone (D-MD6), marks a vital progression in the fight against human rights abuses in Iran. The legislation also takes a strong position against hostage taking of Americans and legal residents, a nefarious tool long used by the Islamic Republic.  

PAAIA’s Advocacy and Role in the TOOMAJ Act 

PAAIA’s annual National Public Opinion Surveys consistently reveal that the most important issue for Iranian Americans, regarding U.S.-Iran relations, is the promotion of democracy and human rights in Iran.  As such, PAAIA stands alongside the many organizations supporting the TOOMAJ Act and emphasizes the urgent need to address the severe human rights violations committed by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.   

In a productive discussion with Rep. Adam Schiff, PAAIA urged him to become a Democratic lead for the bill—a role he graciously accepted. Our efforts, alongside those of the broader Iranian American community, have helped to shape the bill’s content. Specifically, we advocated for the inclusion of the section highlighting the Islamic Revolutionary Courts’ ongoing imprisonment of American citizens and legal permanent residents subjected to sham trials and baseless charges.  

The TOOMAJ Act: What It Entails 

The TOOMAJ Act aims to impose targeted sanctions on the judges, prosecutors, and investigators of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Courts, who are responsible for sham trials, torture, and the inhumane treatment of American citizens, permanent residents, Iranian protesters, and political dissidents.  The bill is designed to: 

  1. Impose Sanctions: Target the judges, prosecutors, and investigators of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts, holding them accountable for their roles in hostage taking and other human rights abuses. 
  1. Demand Judicial Reforms: Call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to end sham trials, coerced confessions, torture, and other human rights violations endemic to its judicial system. 
  1. Support Political Prisoners: Advocate for the immediate release of all political prisoners — including those taken as part of so called “hostage diplomacy” —   ensuring their humane treatment and access to fair trials. This is especially important for our community as many Iranian Americans have faced unjust detention while traveling in Iran including Jason Rezaian, Siamak Namazi, and Amir Hekmati.  

Why the TOOMAJ Act is Important 

The importance of the TOOMAJ Act is evident, particularly considering the oppressive actions continually taken by the Islamic Republic against Americans, legal permanent residents, and its own citizens. The recent issuance of a death sentence to Toomaj Salehi, an Iranian rapper and political dissident, exemplifies the judiciary’s role as an instrument of repression.  

Toomaj Salehi, who has been a vocal critic of the regime through his music, is one of many who have faced severe punishment for advocating for human rights and secular democracy as part of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement. This grassroots, women-led movement has faced brutal crackdowns by the regime yet continues to fight for gender equality and democratic freedoms. The TOOMAJ Act underscores the community’s recognition and support of this struggle. 

Next Steps 

The TOOMAJ Act reflects the Iranian American community’s collective efforts to highlight and combat the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Islamic Republic’s judiciary. As PAAIA continues to support the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, the TOOMAJ Act stands as a testament to our unwavering dedication to the tangible delivery of justice and human rights in Iran. 

Click here to tell your representatives to support the TOOMAJ Act. Together, we can make a difference and support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. 

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