December 12, 2018
WASHINGTON — On December 12, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 274, “Condemning the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights. Introduced by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL], on behalf of herself, Congressman Ted Deutch [D-FL-21], Congressmen Steve Chabot [R-OH], Eliot Engel [D-NY], Brad Schneider [D-IL], Chris Smith [R-NJ], and Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky [D-IL], and Lynn Jenkins [R-KS], House Resolution 274 gained strong bipartisan support. Of the 132 representatives co-sponsoring the resolution, 54 are Republicans and 78 are Democrats.
The resolution calls on the President and Secretary of State, together with responsible nations, to “condemn the Government of Iran’s continued violation of human rights and demand the immediate release of prisoners held solely on account of their religion,” as well as urging them to “impose sanctions on officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals directly responsible for serious human rights abuses, including abuses against the Baha’i community of Iran.”
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen stated, “Iran’s Baha’i community is a frequent target of the regime’s human rights abuses, subjecting adherents to arbitrary arrest and harassment, denying employment, refusing to recognize marriages, and destroying cemeteries and holy places. By passing Ted’s and my resolution, Congress is sending a strong message of support to those suffering in Iran and making it clear that those responsible for this persecution will be held accountable. I urge the administration to continue using all tools at its disposal, including sanction authorities with human rights provisions, to bring an end to these abuses.”
Congressman Deutch added, “The Baha’i community in Iran has long suffered from deep persecution by the government, as detailed by our own U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s Annual Report. With this vote, the House is sending a strong and unified message that we condemn the Iranian regime’s religious persecution and human rights violations and demand the release of Baha’i leaders wrongfully imprisoned. We’re also calling on the Administration to take serious action against those responsible.”
For more information about religious persecution and the rights of the Baha’is in Iran, please contact the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs at 202-833-8990, or visit publicaffairs.bahai.us.