United States Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today released a letter to President Barack Obama urging for the investigation and official designation under U.S. law of 65 Iranian officials whom the European Union (EU) has already designated as human rights abusers.
"We strongly believe the United States should lead on the issue of human rights in Iran," the Senators wrote. "That is why we are concerned that, as of today, the United States has yet to officially designate 65 Iranian human rights abusers already listed by the European Union."
In April 2011, the Senators wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the Obama Administration to investigate 25 Iranian human rights abusers already designated by the EU. Since that letter was sent, the Department of State has only designated one individual previously designated by the EU. Currently, of the 77 Iranian officials designated by the EU as human rights abusers, the United States has only designated 12 of them.
The full text of the July 19 letter is below:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, the State Department recently released its annual report on human rights, including information regarding Iran's human rights record in 2011. The report highlights the Government of Iran's increased suppression and intimidation of opposition voices. Artists, students, activists, human rights defenders and those seeking freedom of speech and religion are increasingly persecuted, imprisoned and tortured.
On April 15, 2011, we wrote to Secretary Clinton urging the State Department to investigate 25 Iranian officials -- already listed by the European Union as human rights abusers -- for possible designation under U.S. law. Since that letter, your Administration designated only one individual, Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, who was previously designated by the European Union. To date, the European Union has designated 77 Iranian officials as human rights abusers. Out of those, the United States lists only 12.
We strongly believe the United States should lead on the issue of human rights in Iran. That is why we are concerned that, as of today, the United States has yet to officially designate 65 Iranian human rights abusers already listed by the European Union. Therefore, pursuant to Section 105 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act (CISADA), Executive Order 13553 and Executive Order 13606, we urge you to investigate and designate the attached list of individuals already designated by the European Union for gross violations of human rights in Iran.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.