Roskam leads letter urging Admin to lift waiver on IRIB sanctions
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, sent a letter to the President – cosigned by eight other Members of Congress – urging the Administration to lift waivers on sanctions of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
In December 2012, Congress enacted the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, which required the President to sanction the IRIB. However, waivers on the application of the sanctions have been issued since 2013, even though the IRIB continues its destructive behaviors.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is an instrument used by the Iranian regime to disseminate propaganda and oppress its own citizens.” said Rep. Roskam. “Notably, the IRIB has broadcast brutal forced confessions, including that of 18-year old Maedeh Hojabri, whose only ‘crime’ was to post a video of herself online dancing without a head-covering. However, this destructive behavior does not only take place within Iran itself. Recently, Google identified and disabled online accounts connected to the IRIB that have been engaged in hacking and malign influence campaigns, with targets across the globe. I urge the Administration to combat Iran’s aggression and support those suffering under dictatorship by lifting this waiver.”
A copy of the letter can be viewed here and the text of the correspondence is below.
Signatories include Reps. Doug Lamborn (CO-5), Lee Zeldin (NY-1), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Doug Lamalfa (CA-1), Randy Weber (TX-14) and Lynn Jenkins (KS-2).
September 21, 2018
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
We write with grave concern about the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its continued repression of the Iranian people. IRIB continues to perpetrate serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran, and U.S. sanctions against IRIB should be fully enforced.
In December 2012, Congress enacted the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, which required the President to impose secondary sanctions on IRIB. The legislation specifically cited IRIB’s broadcasting of “forced televised confessions and show trials” as the basis for the sanctions. In February 2013, the Obama administration complied with the law and designated IRIB and its director for restricting the free flow of information to the Iranian people and for contributing to human rights abuses. One year later, in what observers believed was a confidence building measure amidst an interim nuclear agreement, the administration waived the application of sanctions on IRIB.
Today, IRIB continues to engage in the same activity for which Congress mandated sanctions in 2012: forced confessions of political dissidents. After withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, your administration took several important steps to help combat human rights abuses perpetrated by Iran’s ruling regime. The Office of Foreign Asset Control designated Ansar-E Hizbllah for its attacks on Iranian citizens in collaboration with the Basij; Evin Prison and Hanista programming group for their role in the violent suppression of protestors; and Abdulali Ali-Asgari, the director of IRIB. Yet, the Congressionally-mandated secondary sanctions targeting IRIB itself continue to be suspended.
It is vital that America fully enforce sanctions against IRIB to pressure the regime to end its practice of forced televised confessions, which frequently lead to increased jail time and even death sentences for dissidents. As new protests erupt in Iran every day, the people of Iran are looking to the United States to stand with them with more than just words. We urge you to answer their call by fully enforcing U.S. sanctions against IRIB.