Iran General NewsUS Senators target Iran on rights, democracy

US Senators target Iran on rights, democracy

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ImageAFP: As Iran marked its 1979 Islamic revolution, US Senators unveiled legislation Thursday aimed at helping the opposition in Tehran cast off the regime and targeting alleged rights abusers there. ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) — As Iran marked its 1979 Islamic revolution, US Senators unveiled legislation Thursday aimed at helping the opposition in Tehran cast off the regime and targeting alleged rights abusers there.

One measure, crafted by Republican Senators John Cornyn and Sam Brownback, would green-light non-military aid to Iranian democratic opposition groups and humanitarian aid to "victims of the current regime," their offices said.

The bill includes a non-binding statement that Washington fully backs "efforts of the Iranian people to oppose and remove the current regime and transition to a freely elected, open, and democratic government in Iran."

It also says Washington aims to prevent Tehran from inappropriate meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan, from aiding extremist groups, or developing nuclear weapons.

The legislation would also create a new "special envoy for democracy and human rights in Iran," and aim to foster a regional rights forum.

"The people of Iran are clearly hungry for freedom, and America has a duty to stand behind them and support their cause," said Cornyn. "This legislation will send a clear signal to the Iranian people that we support their efforts."

"The biggest problem with Iran is not weapons or terrorism but the regime itself. This legislation would put the United States firmly and unequivocally on the side of the Iranian people," said Brownback.

Another bill, crafted by Republican Senator John McCain and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, would call for targeting Iranians complicit in rights abuses at home with sanctions like asset freezes or a ban on US travel.

The measure would call on US President Barack Obama to compile a public list of rights abusers or their enablers, and aim to impose punitive measures on those individuals, according to a summary from McCain's office.

"Bottom line, this is a targeted measure against the oppressors of the Iranian people," said McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.

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