Iranby Representative George Holding
Posted on 2014-02-10
HOLDING. Mr. Speaker, over the last several weeks, I have come to
the House floor on numerous occasions to talk about the interim nuclear
agreement that this administration is negotiating with Iran. I have
come here to discuss exactly what that administration is--or, more
importantly, isn't--negotiating and what that means for our national
security and the stability of the region as a whole.
While there can be no question that we need to continue having that discussion about whatever else the regime in Tehran decides to do, like send warships off of our eastern coast, we also need to take some time to discuss what exactly the real power brokers in Iran are doing when they aren't talking about destroying Israel or attacking America.
Many of my colleagues have been down on this very floor before to discuss the oppressive nature of the Iranian regime. It is important that we remind folks just how tyrannical those who are in power there really are.
So, just what exactly have we seen since the election of the self- described moderate President in Iran? We have largely seen the continuation of the same human rights abuses that we have seen for years in Iran. We have seen the grip of Tehran's media and Internet sensors tighten since Mr. Rouhani came to power. Web sites have been restricted and mobile phone applications have also been blocked. There have also been reports of numerous newspapers and blogs being shut down altogether and their reporters and editors being arrested.
Now, what do they all have in common, Mr. Speaker? What they have in common is these people advocate for reform and are critical of the regime in Iran. We have seen a number of Iran's executions occur at an alarming rate since Mr. Rouhani took office. There are many theories as to why this is happening, but the fact remains, somewhere upwards of 60 people are being executed each month in Iran. Some of these executions are being carried out in public with those in charge intentionally leaving the bodies to hang from construction cranes in public areas.
We have seen the persecution of religious minorities. We should all support freedom of religion, and the regime's persistent crackdowns and arrests of Christians, the Baha'is, and other religious minorities should trouble everyone.
Mr. Speaker, as I have talked about before, Iran continues to prop up Hezbollah across the Middle East. Their involvement across the region is widely noted. Of particular concern should be their connection to Syria. Iran sends trained murderers and weapons to prolong the brutal civil war that continues to destroy Syria, separate families, and cause millions to flee their country.
Sadly, this is not even a comprehensive list of what goes on inside of Iran. We could discuss their appalling human rights trafficking record or their full record of sponsoring terrorism, in addition to what we have already discussed.
Why is all of this important when we are talking about the administration's pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran? Two reasons: first, it should serve as a stark reminder of just whom exactly the Obama administration is really negotiating with; second, it shows the true intentions and belief of those that are really in power in Iran. It shows the disconnect between the rhetoric of the self-described moderate President and what is really going on within Iran's borders. Above all, it shows where the real power lies, which is in the hands of the Supreme Leader of Iran.
To forget about the plight of the Iranian people and not address what happens domestically in Iran would be a failure, plain and simple, and one which will continue to cost innocent lives.