Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing the Iranian government for its horrendous human rights violations. But, there is disagreement over whether peripheral issues, such as human rights violations and Iran’s support of terrorism should be included in the pending nuclear deal or not.
Some maintain that the inclusion of these additional issues will make it more difficult to get Iran to agree to any deal. But, it’s not as if Iran has been amenable, to begin with. Through its deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, Iran has complained that no progress has been made, while at the same time toughening its stance. Araqchi has insisted that a deal won’t be made unless the other side gives up its “illogical excessive demands.” What’s more, even the U.S. and E.U. have been at odds with each other at times.
“This was passed almost simultaneously with the sending of a letter signed by 43 US senators to President Barack Obama, in which the senators wrote that they were “alarmed” at reports of the outline of Obama’s possible Iranian nuclear deal.
The US House resolution even adds additional human rights violations that were catalogued in Arutz Sheva’s report on the UN Special Rapporteur’s scathing report issued earlier in October. The House resolution signals bi-cameral opposition to any “bad” Obama-Iran nuclear deal.
The unanimously-passed House Resolution was submitted, on a bi-partisan basis, by Reps. [mc_name name=’Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000487′ ], a Republican, and [mc_name name=’Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000179′ ], a Democrat and a member of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. Among its several provisions, H. Res. 754 calls on the Government of Iran to abide by all of its international and domestic obligations with respect to human rights and civil liberties, including freedoms of assembly, speech and press. It also urges President Obama to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible for serious human rights abuses.”
The resolution also includes the declaration that despite Iran’s prevalent, well-documented human rights violations, President Obama “has designated only one Iranian person for the commission of serious human rights abuses under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, as amended, since May 30, 2013.”
The highlights of the U.S. House resolution are as follows:
1. “Iranian women are increasingly subject to heinous acid attacks, either condoned by, or sponsored by, the Government of Iran.”
2. “Iranian women continue to face legal and societal discrimination, as well as rampant domestic violence, which is not specifically prohibited under domestic law.”
3. “United States Commission on International Religious Freedom found in its 2014 Annual Report that the Government of Iran ‘‘continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.’”
4. “The Government of Iran persecutes such religious minority groups as the Baha’is, Christians, Sufi, Sunni, and dissenting Shi’a Muslims (such as imprisoned Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi) through harassment, arrests, and imprisonment, during which detainees have routinely been beaten, tortured, and killed.”
5. The House condemned, “in particular, the recent cruel execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault.”
6. It also condemned, “in particular, the Government of Iran for its relentless persecution of its Baha’i minority.”
For more information on Iran’s human rights violations please visit Persecution.Org and Human Rights Watch. Each website has a section specific to Iran’s violations and you can also find out how you can help those being oppressed.
In regard to the nuclear negotiations, Israel recently issued a statement warning its allies that, “current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of a crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.”
Israel’s unease is due to the fact that as of Saturday afternoon, reports from Vienna indicated the P5+1 – the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – were willing to stop short of insisting upon full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran. The Jerusalem Post expounds upon Israel’s concerns: “But, compounding Israel’s fears, the proposal Jerusalem has seen demonstrates that: mass dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure – including the destruction, and not the mere warehousing, of its parts – is no longer on the table in Vienna.”
An Israeli official, interviewed by The Jerusalem Post, expressed apprehension, noting that, “Iran’s not being asked to dismantle the nuclear infrastructure.” Having had a chance to review the proposal he said that, “right now what they’re talking about is something very different. They’re talking about Ayatollah Khamenei allowing the P5+1 to save face.”
From Israel’s perspective, the most troubling aspect, believed to be the Achilles’ heel of the proposed agreement, is the sunset clause–the definitive end date. “You’ve not dismantled the infrastructure, you’ve basically tried to put limits that you think are going to be monitored by inspectors and intelligence,” cautioned the official, “and then after this period of time, Iran is basically free to do whatever it wants.” The official continued, saying: “You’ve not only created a deal that leaves Iran as a threshold nuclear power today, because they have the capability to break out quickly if they wanted to. But you’ve also legitimized Iran as a military nuclear power in the future.”
In essence, Israel believes from the moment this deal is sealed, it will for all practical purposes guarantee Iran will be a military nuclear power. “The statement that says we’ve prevented them from having a nuclear weapon is not a true statement,” the Israeli official explained. “What you’ve said is, you’re going to put restrictions on Iran for a given number of years, after which there will be no restrictions and no sanctions. That’s the deal that’s on the table.”
But, without an exit ramp, Israel stands firm in its insistence that its hands will not be tied by an agreement reached this week, this month or next, if it includes a clause that would in effect normalize Iran’s home-grown enrichment program. Israel is putting the world on notice that they will not wait to see whether the inspectors will be compliant and do their jobs as required or not.
Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened the use of force against Iran several times since 2009, Iran’s nuclear program is significantly larger now. Netanyahu would prefer not to have to go to war, according to his aides, but he believes more time under duress would have led to a more viable agreement. However, that opportunity, in Netanyahu’s estimation, may be gone.
Even so, some argue Israel lacks the ability to strike, without assistance from the U.S. U.S. officials were quoted last month in the Atlantic, commenting that the window for Netanyahu closed over two years ago. The Israeli official responded by saying: “The prime minister is a very serious man who knows the serious responsibility that rests on his shoulders. He wouldn’t say the statements that he made if he didn’t mean them.” He added: “People have underestimated Israel many, many times in the past and they underestimate it now.”