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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Iran Sanctions for Human Rights  CSPAN  April 24, 2018 6:02pm-6:30pm EDT

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her book. my up close view of four presidents. >> u.s. house returns at 6:30 p.m. eastern for votes on three bills debated earlier, including one that imposes additional sanctions on iran for human rights violations. we'll show you the floor debate from earlier. s recognized. mr. royce: in january, body came
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together, it was a near unanimous vote, to support the iranian people who were engaged in he jate mat protests against a very oppressive regime. i want to thank mr. mike mccaul here, chairman of the homeland security committee, and mr. eliot engel, the ranking member of our committee on foreign affairs. for their engagement in this issue and at the time, we were witnessing tens of thousands of iranians taking to the streets in the largest demonstration that we had seen since the green revolution of 2009. the protests aimed at economic stagnation, aimed at widespread corruption and people were talking about that all the time, aimed at the revolutionary guard corps control over that economy because they had nationalized,
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seized so much of that economy. and quickly we saw that spread across iran. as persians sought to exercise the fundamental right of free do expression, as people across that country of every ethnicity and every religion began to speak out. many demonstrated, shouted slogans aimed at iran's costly upport for syria's al-assad if you recall, reading the press accounts. and they attacked, they argued about the costs, the support that went to the terrorist roups such as hezbollah. predictably, the iranian regime moved swiftly to quash the demonstrations and throttle social media. more than 1,000 iranians were jailed, dozens were killed, house resolution 6 6 condemned this brutal violence back in january, called for targetted
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sanctions to hold the regime to account, but today we act to make good on that call. because the bill before us oday, chairman mccaul's h.r. 4744, requires the administration to determine whether senior iranian officials should be sanctioned for human rights abuses. it also requires determinations on whether iranian businesses should be sanctioned for public corruption with respect to those that are involved. and it mandates sanctions on those official responseable for iran's politically motivated jailing of u.s. citizens. mr. speaker, for years the regime in tehran has systematically beat down all opposition inside iran. it regularly uses brutal tactics ck in iran including torture
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and mass executions. as it seeks to export violence and radical ideology abroad as well. i think all of us can think back to that 1979 revolution and contemplate how much better iran would have been had it not went off onto a path of becoming a rogue state. as this legislation details, today the regime flagrantly disregards commitments, drn commitments its made to respect the rights of iranian people. many of us recall the barbaric mass executions carried out over a four-month period in 1988. i dare say if you know any persians, if you know people who escaped from iran, you know that during that period of time leading up to 1988, the flrp
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over 30,000 students and young professionals who lost their lives as a consequence. we know that the political prisoners there went through a ueling experience in prisonsmark executed by hanging, many by firing squad. they refused to renounce their political affiliations and that was the fate that was handed out to them. and today, the regime still persecutes ethnic and religious nority groups, such as the b ba -- such as the baha'i, sue fee, sunni, christians, dissenting shia muslims. and we all remember the way the ayatollah oppressed the peaceful dissent in the green revolution
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in which the previous administration remained embarrassingly silent in my view and many of us here on the floor today spoke up often at that time about that dissent during the green revolution. because i think this was a real opportunity missed by the united states. so again, mr. speaker, i want to thank chairman mccal and i want to thank ranking member en-- mccaul and i want to thank ranking member engel for their work on this legislation. i am glad we have strong bipartisan support for this measure. regardless of how one views the iran nuclear agreement it's critical that the united states and our allies continue to press iran for its dangerous and threatening acts that fall outside of the jcpoa. this is an area where officials from the trump and obama administrations agree and for good reason. s the same regime that is holding american citizens including one who is in very poor health. holding them on sham charges.
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in one of the largest ransom schemes, from my standpoint, that was ever devised. this regime of course held its first american hostages in 1979 when it overran our u.s. embassy. the regime's m.o. remains the same. it is far pastime the regime faced consequences for its attacks on iranians, and for its attacks on americans ialike. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i rise in strong support of this measure and yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: let me start by thanking congressman deutch and mccaul, both valued members of the foreign affairs committee, for they hard work on this bill. want to also thank chairman ed royce who has been a strong bipartisan voice in things that are so important to the country, our country, and to the world.
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we always say that we take pride in having the foreign affairs committee being the most poirn committee in the entire congress. iran has isolated itself then global -- on the global stage buzz it refuses to abandon aggressive activities that pose a threat to the region and the entire international community. on that list is the regime's terrible treatment, mistreatment, of its own people. and its heinous practice of prolonged and politically motivated detentions of american citizens. the bill before us now seeks to put an end to these intolerable practices. it would place sanctions on anyone responsible for politically motivated harassment, abuse, extortion, or extended detention or trial of americans or iranians. earlier this year, we stood on this floor in solidarity with
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protesters in iran who sought a better future for their country and for the next generation. they wanted to see their government abandon its support for iranian proxy forces and terrorist groups like hezbollah in favor of funding health care and employment opportunities for average iranians. this is a country that's suffered so much under the ayatollah's -- ayatollahs and the economic mismanagement of its leaders and the protests in december and january were a stark reminder of the regime's tight grip on power as many protesters were killed in the streets and blocked from communicating with the outside world. today as we pass this legislation, we think about the americans who currently sit in iranian prisons. we think about robert levinson, mr. deutch's constituent who has been missing for over 11 years. who has missed the weddings of his children and the births of
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his grandchildren. the iranian regime had promised to cooperate with the investigation to locate mr. levin -- levinson but to date that cooperation has been virtually nonexistent. there is no real clarity in u.s. polity -- policy toward iran. the united states faces a looming deadline on the nuclear deal and the future remains uncertain. but there is one thing we can all agree. we cannot let -- cannot let up the pressure on iran for its human rights violations, particularly against american citizens. so again, again i want to thank mr. mccaul and mr. deutch. this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. if you care about the injustices going on in iran, then it's important to support this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield five minutes
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to the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul, chairman of the committee on homeland security, and the author of this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to urge support for my bill to hold the iranian regime accountable for its continued human rights violations. i introduced the iran human rights and hostage taking accountability act with congressman deutch, and i'm grateful for chairman royce and ranking member engel's support in this effort. the iranian regime continues to perpetrate gross human rights abuses against its own people. they continue to suppress and censor their people's calls for democratic reform. they recklessly use their nation's resources to expand their destabilizing influence and support of terrorism. they continue to engage in corrupt practices, and they continue to illegally detain and imprison our citizens without just cause. this is simply unacceptable.
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mr. speaker, this bill serves as a clear signal to the people of iran that we support their quest for freedom. it shines a light on the regime's human rights violations and targets iranian officials guilty of corruption, censorship, and the diversion of goods intended for the iranian people. it requires the president to work with our international participaters in to develop a strategy to end this inhumane behavior and sanctions those officials complicit in those crimes. finally, it sanctions these -- those individuals who take americans hostage. mr. speaker, today, there are more than six american citizens and permanent u.s. residents held by the iranian regime in a shapeful attempt to use innocent human lives as political bargaining chips. these hostages include bob levinson, congressman deutch's constituent, who has been
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missing since 2007, and remains america's longest held hostage. one and his 81-year-old father held since 2015 and 2016 respectively. ph.d. student wong held since 2016. an internet freedom activist nizr, held since 2016, and others. the united states has a moral responsibility to devote resources to these mostages and make their return a priority. i sent a letter with lieu sman lou and 40 -- and 46 other members of congress requesting that the administration keeps congress apprised of what's happening. i want to thank you on this bipartisan effort to hold iran
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accountable. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: thank you, mr. speaker. it's now my pleasure to yield five minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. deutch, the ranking member of the subcommittee on the middle east and north africa of the foreign affairs committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. deutch: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, ranking member engel and chairman royce, for your support of this legislation. special thanks to chairman mccaul for your leadership in recognizing the need to take action. we must work together to stop the brutal iranian regime's human rights abuses and demand the release of american hostages that iran is using as pawns for political leverage. i'm proud to partner with you, mr. mccaul, in this effort. the iran human rights and hostage-taking accountability act, sends a clear message to the iranian regime and the rest
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of the world, this congress, this country will not tolerate the flagrant disregard of the most basic of human rights. my colleagues have explained the merits of this bill and i know it is difficult for many americans to imagine, but we are here today to show our resolve in the face of really unbelievable circumstances. for my constituents, the family of robert levinson, this is a nightmare that they have lived for 11 years. bob levinson is the longest american held hostage in history. he disappeared in iran on march 9, 2007. imagine 11 years without your husband or your father. imagine having grandchildren who have never had the chance to meet their grandfather. imagine 11 anniversaries, dozens of family birthdays and holidays that past by without bob, just an empty place where bob should be sitting. bob's wife, christine, and his
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seven children, susan, stephanie, sarah, dan, david, samantha, and doug, have been tireless advocates for their father. they've traveled to iran themselves looking for answers. they have made the trip to washington, d.c., countless times to meet with government officials, members of congress. they have fought for action all the way to the oval office directly appealing to president bush, president obama, and president trump. they have watched as others have returned home to their families. they have listened with hope as iran's leaders have promised cooperation. and they have been disappointed more times than they can count as promises go unfulfilled year after year after year. iran has become adapt to this cruel game because that's what it is to this rogue iranian regime. they say hostages are not hostages. but these people are not
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detained under a legal order. they have lost their freedom. they have been separated from their families, and they have been held under the shamelessly trumped up and false charges. any attempt to show due process or trials has been a sham. the levinsons, to the other families whose loved ones are being held, we stand with you. today we speak clearly and loudly with one bipartisan voice to send a message that no country, no rogue regime will use american lives as leverage to further a dangerous agenda. this bill isn't about the nuclear deal. nothing in this bill precludes our continued participation in the jcpoa. but this bill makes clear the importance of closely coordinating with our allies and partners whose citizens have also been held hostage by iran to apply pressure on the regime. if we are going to counter
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iran's abuses, iran's terrorism, iran's threats to our troops and our national security interests, we must work with our partners around the globe. we will stand together against repression and the violation of human rights. we will stand together against religious persecution. we will stand together for the rule of law and democratic values, and taking hostages and violating the most fundamental values that cut to the core of our dignity as human beings is unacceptable to this congress and to members of the international community. i urge all of my colleagues to stand up to iran's rogue regime, to stand up for human rights and for the people of iran, to stand with the levinsons and the other families whose loved ones are missing from their lives, and to fight for their return home by supporting this bill. please support h.r. 4744, and
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together we will stand for basic human rights. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from florida, ileana ros-lehtinen, who chairs the foreign affairs subcommittee on the middle east and north africa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i thank chairman royce for his kindness and his leadership and ranking member eliot, my favorite mench, for bringing this bill to the floor today. i also want to thank and congratulate michael mccaul, and my south florida colleague and dear friend, ted deutch, for their work in authoring this important bill. the regime in iran, as we have heard from my colleagues, is responsible for some of the most despicable human rights abuses imaginable. the regime is also notorious for its hostage-taking tactics. hoping to get financial or
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political concessions from the united states and other western ountries for their hostage-taking. mr. deutch and i have been highlighting these abuses in our subcommittee through multiple hearings, many pieces of legislation, including a resolution that house passed last year, house resolution 317, that urged the president to make the release of americans held hostage in iran the highest of priorities. we also held a hearing from some of the hostages named in the resolution where we heard rom families from the family of bob levinson. a father and son who have been unjustly detained in iran for far too long. all of these families had to endure so much, mr. speaker. almost one year later, after
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our resolution, all of these men as well as at least four other americans, additional americans continue to be unjustly detained in iran suffering under horrific conditions with little to no contact with their families. iran must be held accountable, mr. speaker. we must be applying maximum pressure against the regime and this bill gives the administration more tools to sanction the regime for this and ice of taking hostages i thank you for your full support. i thank the chairman and the ranking member. i thank you for the time. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. engel: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is
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recognized. mr. poe: mr. speaker, the iranian regime is the number one state sponsor of terror in the whole world. and they commit terrorist acts even against their own people. 4744, roud to h.r. introduced by my friend, chairman mccaul. the muleas in tehran are the most brutal. we have seen this on display as they continue to mercilessly crush dissent from their own people. international attention has faded but the iranian people are still in the streets demanding their rights, whether they be economic opportunity, access to water, religious freedom, or gender equality. so in response the regime has murdered dozens and locked up thousands as it has done so many times before without punishment from the outside world.
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this is nothing new for the islamic republic. look no further than the 1988 massacre where 30,000 of iranians' political prisoners were systematically murdered by the regime. this barbaric mass execution occurred by public hangings, firing squads, including teenagers and pregnant women who refused to renounce their political affiliations. including many of the m.e.k.'s, today's leading iranian dissident group. so horrific was the act that the deputy to iran's ruler at the time ayatollah khomeini, called it, quote, the greatest crime committed within the islamic republic which history will condemn us and, yes, we condemn them for these acts of murder. this bill will provide that commendation and call for investigation into this crime against humanity.
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it also urges our government to work with partners to investigate other human rights abuses such as the dozens more killed during protests in 1999, 2009, and 2017, and sanction those responsible. in all cases the families of those murdered by the regime were never told what happened to their loved ones' remains. this important bill will pressure the iranian government to disclose where the final resting place of the missing is so their families may have a small bit of peace. mr. speaker, now is the day of reckoning for the iranian regime, and that's just the way it is. i'll yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california, do you have any more speakers? the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. ening mr. royce: i'll continue to reserve the right to close. mr. engel: well, i'll close and i yield myself such time as i
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may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: mr. speaker, it's no secret that the united states and iran's leaders are at odds on a host of issues. iran has killed americans in iraq. its proxies seek to harm our citizens and our interests around the world. but let me be clear. the united states has no quarrel with the iranian people. this legislation seeks to protect the human rights of the iranian people and americans who are unfairly detained in iran. this bill signifies and signals our solidarity with the protesters and demonstrators to iran's rulers, any action that violates the human rights of americans will be met with severe consequences. the gentleman from texas, mr. mr. poe just mentioned the 1988 massacre, that was horrendous and there were many, many more. this brutal regime has blood on its hand and -- on its hands and
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it's important for the united states to call them out. i urge my colleagues to support this bill this bipartisan bill, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: in closing, i would again like to thank my colleague, chairman mccaul and ranking member engel, for their bipartisan leadership to hold iran accountable. to hold them accountable for their brutality. their brutality in the 1988 massacres, their brutality in terms of the way they're treating their religious minorities today. and we know that americans formerly imprisoned by iran describe being subjected to electric shock and whipping, we've heard that before our committee. we've heard them say that they were denied medical care. oday u.s. citizens such as permanentazr and u.s.
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all ent nazr zaca, are sitting in iranian jails on bogus accusations of -- on bogus accusations of collaborating in espionage and u.s. citizen robert levinson is still missing more than 10 years after he went missing in iran. our hearts go out to these victims, our hearts go out to their families as we call for the immediate release of all u.s. citizens and permanent residents held in iran. with this we will impose tough sanctions on the regime and we do that for its corruption, for its attacks on innocent americans and its attacks on >> iran sanctions bill, one of the six bills the house debated earlier this afternoon


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