Support Iranians Who Embrace Democracy (H Res 560)
FLOOR SITUATION: The resolution is being considered under suspension of the rules; 40 minutes of debate; not subject to amendment; two-thirds majority vote required for adoption. The measure is expected to be managed by Chairman Berman, D-Calif. The Republican manager is expected to be Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
The Foreign Affairs Committee did not act on the resolution, which was introduced yesterday by Reps. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., and Mike Spence, R-Ind.
Iran has been in a state of turmoil for the past week as massive demonstrations protesting the re-election of incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continue to roil the country. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that the disputed presidential vote had not been rigged, warning protesters of a further, more violent, crackdown if they continue their demonstrations. Khamenei refused to stage a new recount or vote claiming the election was an "absolute victory." Instead, he accused a "Zionist-controlled" foreign media of manipulating public opinion.
President Obama has been criticized by some for not taking a more forceful stance in favor of the protestors, claiming that while he is "deeply troubled" by reports of violence against protestors, he is taking a "wait and see approach." Most experts on Iran, however, argue that given the history of U.S. interference in Iranian affairs, official condemnation by the United States runs the risk of helping Iranian hardliners. Iranian-American groups, almost all of which oppose the hardliners, have lobbied all week against congressional action on a resolution. "What the Congress is trying to do by coming down squarely on one side in the ongoing election dispute runs the risk of making the United States part of the story in Iran — which is exactly what Ahmadinejad was hoping for," Patrick Disney, legislative director of the National Iranian American Council said late Thursday night. "It would play right into the hardliners' hand, letting them point the finger at a supposed external threat rather than their own mismanagement of the country's affairs."
This resolution expresses support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
It states that the House condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Iranian government and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones.
Finally, the measure affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
The administration does not normally take positions on such resolutions.