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Public Statements

Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I want to start here by commending Chairman Ros-Lehtinen for this sustained focus on Iran that she has had for many, many years. I also want to thank Ranking Member Berman for the strong pressure that he has put on the regime in Iran, as well.

Recently, we had the administration fighting hard against bipartisan sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Iran. But what I want to point out is that in a bipartisan way here, Congress insisted on, and today the administration touts, the impact of sanctions on Iran's economy.

Here is the point I'd like to make: we'd be in a much better position if the executive branch, both Republicans and Democrats--right now we have the problem with the Obama administration's slow-walking this; but had they been more willing to work with Congress to craft tougher sanctions earlier, we'd be in a lot better position right now. The bill's stepped-up penalties on those cooperating with Iran's energy and shipping sectors, frankly, that's the Achilles' heel that we should be aiming at.

Very importantly, this bill also includes a human rights title to go after those abusing Iran's citizens. Let's let Iranians know that we are on their side and we are going to focus on those crimes against humanity and on the brutal regime opposing them. It's a regime that beats and that imprisons--I've talked to some of these victims--and that often rapes its own people in order to try to impose its will. It's a regime that executes political prisoners by the hundreds.

Congress is increasing the pressure. Many of us, certainly the chairman, would like to go further. Iran's centrifuges are spinning, but this progress here today deserves support.

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