Washington, DC — Last week, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) penned a letter urging Senator Cardin and the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) to take action on the Mahsa Amini Human rights and Security Accountability Act (MAHSA Act). The letter highlights the urgency of marking up this crucial legislation, emphasizing the need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its rampant human rights abuses and support for terrorism.
Introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Alex Padilla in the Senate in July 2023, the MAHSA Act (S.2626, H.R.589) passed in the House of Representatives with near unanimous, bipartisan support in September. If signed into law, the legislation would require the Executive Branch to determine targeted sanctions on key figures within the Iranian government, including the Supreme Leader, the President, their offices, and affiliated entities under the authority of existing executive orders.
As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Cardin controls which bills go to markup. Markup is the formal step committees take before the bill is recommended to the full Senate for a vote. Despite the overwhelming support for the MAHSA Act, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet to consider this legislation. In response, PAAIA crafted a letter to the chairman which you can read here.
In its efforts to push for the bill to be marked up, PAAIA underscores the gravity of the situation in Iran, citing the Islamic Republic’s continued violence against protestors involved in the Woman, Life, Freedom movement. The letter emphasizes the suppression of peaceful dissent, the limiting of internet access, increasingly restrictive measures against women and businesses, and the regime’s extremely violent responses to critics and protestors. Passing the MAHSA Act would send a strong message to the Islamic Republic that the U.S. Congress supports the Iranian people and their quest for human rights and democracy.
PAAIA’s letter also highlights the Iranian American community’s deep connections to their family in Iran and a prevailing sentiment that the protests in Iran will positively contribute to the country’s socio-political evolution. According to PAAIA’s 2023 national survey, the majority (93%) of Iranian Americans believe that the U.S. government should take action to support the protestors. As the promotion of human rights and democracy remains the top priority for our community when it comes to U.S.-Iran relations, the letter to Senator Cardin calls on him to prioritize the urgent need to address the ongoing human rights crisis in Iran.
PAAIA, along with other advocates for human rights and the Iranian American community as a whole, continues to press for immediate action on the MAHSA Act in the Senate. You can ask your senators to cosponsor the bill using our quick-and-easy action alert here as well as contact Senator Cardin’s office directly here.
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.
January 23, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Shannon Kuehn, Director of Communications at PAAIA