Insider news & Analysis in Iran

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers have promised the Iranian Opposition that they will press for tougher sanctions on the Iranian Regime.The House members made this pledge to the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC) on Tuesday. 

The OIAC is allied with the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)  and advocates for a "democratic, secular and non-nuclear government", and overthrowing the  "religious dictatorship" in Iran.

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called for an expansion of the sanctions against Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which were not removed during the nuclear deal.

She said: "It is time that we put the tools that we have created to use, broadening our sanctions so that they include IRGC-controlled businesses and subsidiaries. We must target the (Iranian) regime at every turn, not only enforcing the sanctions that have been too long neglected, but expanding their scope whenever and wherever possible."

The lawmakers also want to stop IRGC-affiliated companies from buying US-made passenger planes, which would likely be used to ship weapons, troops and even money to terrorist cells.

Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman co-sponsored a bill to require the Trump administration to report any signs of Iran using US-made aircraft for "illicit military or other activities" which would violate the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

He said: "We need an ironclad system that makes sure (any newly-acquired planes with American technology) are not used for military or terrorist purposes (by Iran)."

During his campaign, Trump promised to renegotiate the Iranian Nuclear Deal- unlike his Republican opponents, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who promised to “rip up” the deal, on their first day in office- but has not made steps towards it yet.

Sherman also wanted to prevent US banks from loaning Iran any money to pay for new planes.

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher called for increased political pressure against the Iranian despots, especially to protect the human rights of the people living there.

He said: "One strategy is to help pro-democracy movements who would replace the mullahs. I'm willing to help the Azeris, Baluch and Kurds, who are not part of the Persian majority, to create a situation where you have autonomous regions similar to the states of the United States so that those people's rights will feel secure as well." 

Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel explained that he wanted to help the Iranian dissidents who were previously exiled to Camp Liberty in Iraq, but have since been safely relocated to Albania.

He noted that they still have not received the money from the sale of their property in Iraq; an estimated $50 million left at Camp Liberty and $500 million at Camp Ashraf. This money is needed to help them make a new life, without handouts. 

He said: "As all of their expenses in Albania are paid by MEK, they need their money to be returned as soon as possible. So, I urge Iraq, which the United States has helped for so many years, to honour its commitment to return the money to MEK."

 

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