February 18, 2016, 06:00 pm
By Majid Sadeghpour
Recently the United States House of Representatives passed the “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act,” which bars removal by the executive branch, of certain Iranian individuals and financial institutions from a restricted U.S sanctions list. Iranian government’s phony diplomatic maneuvering after the nuclear accord should be viewed with the added perspective of Iran’s categorical disregard for basic human rights of its citizens and fueling of the raging violence in Syria. Accordingly, any and all congressional effort to keep pressure on the regime is a right move, and a concrete stop towards addressing the global expansion of Islamic fundamentalism.
Following passage of the Bill, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said that Iran is “cashing in on a $100 billion jackpot, even as it tests ballistic missiles, seizes American sailors and continues its support for terrorism.” President Obama, he added, ‘must fully enforce sanctions on Iran’s illicit program and confront its dangerous acts.” The bill is clearly part of a growing nationwide interest to place economic sanctions against Iran. As is, “at least half of all U.S. states have laws or policies on the books that sanction Iran. In September, governors from 15 states co-signed a letter expressing their intent to use state-level sanctions to target Iran.”
The bill invokes congressional authority given to states, allowing them to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran without fear of federal government preemption. This authority is clearly embedded in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.
U.S. lawmakers are distinctly worried that Iran will not live up to its commitment under the nuclear deal and alarmed that it continues to act inconsistent with what would otherwise be expected of a state wishing in good faith to join the global community.
Lawmakers have every right to be skeptical of Iranian government intentions particularly when Iran behaves as it does internally and abroad. As a state party to the CRC, “Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the age of 18 as a child and ensure that they are never subject to the death penalty nor to life imprisonment without possibility of release.” Yet it instead is a “leading executioner of minors” – despite its pledge more than two decades ago to end the death penalty of minors.
Notwithstanding the apparently mannered smiles Hassan Rouhani has been offering Western politicians, Physical and psychological torture remain rampant in Iranian prisons as do state sponsored extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and murder outside of it.
In this environment, aiming for economic boom through trade with the Ayatollahs would not only irresponsible but will also be short-lived. Maintaining sanctions as congress envisions it, on the other hand, will curtail Iran’s malign projection of power and weaken a murderous entity – the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Both outcomes can help brighten prospects for peace in the region and advance the cause of liberty for the Iranian people.
Sadeghpour is the political director of the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIACUS).