Texas Rep. Lance Gooden Introduces Resolution Condemning Iran for Human Rights Abuse

Lance Gooden
Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Congressman Lance Gooden (R) introduced legislation condemning Tehran for “reprisals” against protesters, while calling to protect Iranian political exiles in Albania, and backing the Iranian struggle for a democratic and secular government.

On Thursday,  Rep. Gooden (R-TX) introduced a bipartisan resolution “condemning the Iranian government for its gross human rights abuses,” from the 1988 “massacre of political prisoners” to the “recent violent response to uprisings in 2018, 2019, and 2022.”

Condemning the Islamic Republic for “denying the evidence of this manifest set of crimes against humanity,” the measure highlights grave abuses of human rights committed by Iran’s regime, encompassing the violent quelling of public unrest, systematic enforced disappearances, and the terrifying 1988 political prisoner massacre.

It proposes “international protection” for Iranian political exiles in Albania, an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council to incorporate the 1988 slaughter into its ongoing investigations, and collective backing for Iranians striving to form a democratic and secular government.

The United States “stands with the people of Iran, who are legitimately defending their rights for freedom against repression and condemns the brutal killing of Iranian protesters by the Iranian regime,” the resolution declares, charging that current protests in Iran are “rooted in the more than four decades of organized resistance against the Iranian dictatorship, which have been led by women who have endured torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and death.”

According to Rep. Gooden, the legislation reflects Congress’s commitment to aid the Iranian people’s effort to achieve a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Iranian Republic.

The resolution was introduced around the time of the 35th anniversary of the formation of the 1988 death commission by Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini who issued a fatwa (religious decree) against the MEK (Mujahadin-e Khalq) main Iranian opposition group, condemning all its members and supporters to death, which was immediately implemented in the summer of 1988.

Co-sponsors of the resolution include Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Randy Weber (R-TX), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and other members of the House.

According to the MEK group, the bi-partisan resolution makes clear that the Iranian people “are rejecting monarchic dictatorship and religious tyranny, as evident in their protest slogans,” and that the U.S. House of Representatives “recognizes the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran.”

The matter comes as concerns among human rights advocates continue to grow over the ongoing demonstrations in Iran, and as U.N. Deputy Human Rights Chief Nada Al-Nashif warned that the “overall human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran has markedly deteriorated.” 

As per the United Nations’ most recent report, Iran has seen an unprecedented surge in capital punishments, imprisonments, and detentions in the previous year.

Balal, who killed Iranian youth Abdolah Hosseinzadeh in a street fight with a knife in 2007, is brought to the gallows during his execution ceremony in the northern city of Noor on April 15, 2014. The mother of Abdolah Hosseinzadeh spared the life of the her son's convicted murderer, with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution prior to removing the noose around his neck. AFP PHOTO/ARASH KHAMOOSHI/ISNA (Photo credit should read ARASH KHAMOOSHI/AFP via Getty Images)

File/Balal, who killed Iranian youth Abdolah Hosseinzadeh in a street fight with a knife in 2007, is brought to the gallows during his execution ceremony in the northern city of Noor on April 15, 2014. (ARASH KHAMOOSHI/AFP via Getty Images)

 Earlier this month, Italian representatives expressed their support for the Iranian people’s uprising, rejected the current dictatorship of the mullahs, and endorsed MEK political leader and President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Maryam Rajavi’s “Ten Point Plan,” which aims to ensure Iranians’ freedom of expression and assembly — as well as the right to choose their elected leaders — as part of the path toward a free, secular, and democratic Iran.

Previously, at the NCRI’s Free Iran 2023 World Summit in France, Rep. Gooden expressed appreciation for the young people “risking their lives to stand up to this regime.”

“We are proud to stand by you, Madame Rajavi; and on behalf of all members of Congress — we are with you,” he stated.

The events come as massive protests have swept Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year while in the custody of the Islamic theocracy’s notorious “morality police” for violating strict requirements for women to keep their heads covered in public.

Since then, a slew of incidents involving abuses and deaths at the hands of the regime have been documented during an ongoing clampdown on protests, with clips circulating showing Iranian regime officers brutally assaulting protesters.

In response, criticisms of the Islamic regime and its tactics continue to grow.

In May, over a hundred former world leaders penned an open letter to the heads of the U.S., Canada, the E.U., and the U.K. calling for the regime in Tehran to be held accountable for its long-running crimes against humanity.

File/21 September 2021, Berlin: A woman tears up a picture of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at a protest event of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NWRI) in Germany at the Federal Chancellery. (Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Among the more than 100 signatories of the letter, including 50 former presidents and 47 former prime ministers, were former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Italian ex-premier Matteo Renzi.

Meanwhile, a joint congressional House caucus hearing voiced support for the Iranian people’s uprising, following a wave of recent executions by the Islamic regime in an attempt to contain unrest in the country.

In March, a bipartisan House majority endorsed a resolution expressing Congress’s support for a democratic Republic of Iran while calling for a new Iran policy in light of continued protests by the Iranian people and increasing repression by the “theocratic thugs who have oppressed them for far too long.”

The resolution, sponsored by 224 U.S. House members, supports Iran’s uprisings for a secular republic, while noting the “Ten Point Plan” to ensure Iranians’ freedom of expression and assembly — as well as the right to choose their elected leaders — is the “path toward a free, secular, Democratic and non-nuclear Iran.”

According to the NCRI, Iran — the largest state sponsor of terrorism worldwide — is witnessing a revolution “in the making,” with the Islamic Republic no longer capable of containing the current uprising.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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