Hi everyone. My name is Tom Emmer and I represent Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. I’m excited to support your mission for a free and democratic Iran and I appreciate the opportunity to participate in your 2020 Human Rights Summit.
I speak to you during a painful anniversary. Thirty-two years ago, between late July and September of 1988, Iranian authorities arrested and executed thousands of political prisoners. Lower estimates put the death toll at 5,000. Little peace exists for the families of these prisoners who were dumped in unmarked graves. The Iranian government has refused to acknowledge the killings and destroyed burial sites, forbidding commemorations for the victims. This anniversary doesn’t just call us to mourn those killed for their convictions, it reminds us just how brutal a government can become in order to suppress free expression.
In Congress, I’ve worked to spread democracy across the globe, especially to the people of Iran. Last Congress I was proud to support imposing sanctions on Iran to hold them accountable for their human rights abuses. I am also encouraged by the January passage of a measure which supports the rights of the people of Iran to free expression and condemns the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests.
Too many Iranians have been punished for asking to participate in their own government. Thousands have been arrested or killed as part of legitimate protests, and this violence towards those seeking a free and open democracy must come to an end.
Thank you for your hope for a free Iran and for your hard work to make it a reality. Like you, I look forward to the day when all Iranians can express themselves without living in fear. Thank you.