June 19th, 2009
09:04 AM ET
5 years ago

House expected to vote on Iranian resolution

A new House resolution would decry 'ongoing violence against demonstrators' in Iran.
A new House resolution would decry 'ongoing violence against demonstrators' in Iran.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a resolution that supports "all Iranians who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law."

The resolution also "condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators."

The supporters include Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman, a California Democrat, and Republicans Mike Pence and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.

UPDATE BELOW: Sen. John McCain has introduced a similar resolution in the Senate.

The U.S. government is in a precarious position regarding how to respond to the massive rallies in Tehran opposing the results of last week's presidential election which showed a victory for incumbent hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Supporters of Ahmadinejad's main rival, Mir Hossein Moussavi, have taken to the streets this week calling for a new election and protesting the Iranian government's crackdown on the protests, which killed at least eight people.

President Barack Obama has said he is "deeply troubled" by the violent protests but he avoided siding with Ahmadinejad's opponents, telling reporters that "It is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be."

"It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections," Obama said.

The resolution that U.S. lawmakers are expected to vote on has been tweaked from its initial version, according to The Washington Independent which has posted copies of both versions of the bill. The blog reported that Berman changed the text of the initial version, submitted by Pence, which mentioned Iran's June 12 presidential election. The initial draft resolution did not refer to it as an election, but a "process of selecting Iran's next political leader," the blog reported.

The amended bill that is expected to be voted on states that the House of Representatives:

(1) expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law;

(2) condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and

(3) affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.

On Thursday, Cantor joined critics of the White House's response to Iran's disputed presidential election, saying the United States has a "moral responsibility" to condemn attacks on protesters.

"The administration's position that what's going on in Iran is a 'vigorous debate' is absurd," he said.

"People are being brutalized and murdered by the regime in Tehran. We have no idea exactly how many have died or have been seriously injured, since the regime has restricted journalists. In no way do these actions constitute a 'vigorous debate.'"

The congressman from Virginia, the No. 2 Republican in the House, added that "America has a moral responsibility to stand up for these brave people, to defend human rights, and to condemn the violence and abuses by the regime in Tehran."

UPDATE: A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate Friday by Republican Sen. John McCain, who has been outspoken in his criticism of President Barack Obama's response to this week's massive rallies in Iran against the results of last week's presidential election.

The Arizona senator introduced a resolution on the Senate floor Friday morning that he said would be "an expression of support by the government and the people of the United States of America" for those protesting the results of the June 12 election.

"It is unfortunate in a way that this resolution is required since the administration does not want to - quote - meddle and has refused, the president has refused to speak out in support of these brave Iranian citizens, most of them young, who are risking their very lives to protest what was clearly an unfair and corrupt election," McCain told his fellow senators.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Deirdre Walsh, Peter Hamby and Dan Lothian contributed to this report.


Filed under: Iran
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Alan

    Support for individual rights in Iran?? What about supporting them here in the US!!!

    June 19, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Randolph Carter

    Real freakin' smart. Now the Iranian powers that be can say, "look, these protesters are supported by the American devils" and they have an instant excuse to crack down even harder. What a bunch of rocket surgeons. Have a nice day!

    June 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. haren

    Let us end this stupid war funding which is way more than trillions of dollars and call home our troop.
    we need to pass our health care reform which cost us less than 100 billion per year, Media and Republicans are keep using word trillion to scare us.
    There is no need to help all these Muslim countries, they will never end fighting among themselves.

    June 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. Too True For You

    With their crooked as a snake performance in the 2000 and 2004 US presidential elections, it's pure irony to hear how sanctimonious these republicans are about the Iranian election.

    It's also rich to hear Cantor opine that "People are being brutalized and murdered by the regime in Tehran". Hey buddy, how about all your right wing nut cases murdering people right here in America with the encouragement of conservative leaders Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Savage and O'Reilly? You should look to clean your own house before you go criticising others.

    June 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Mississippi Mike

    Good. With the president too scared to take a stand, someone in our government needs to show support for democracy and fair elections.

    June 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. raagos

    we should leave iran alone... its not gonna help those ppl out there. unless we do israel work

    June 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. frustrated

    Come on republicans. Please, would your collective act together and pick a leader so we can get down to the business of fixing America and not continue to meddle in Iran. I'm not sure we have enough in our immediate arsenal to fight N. Korea, let alone start a revolution in Iran, yet your leaderless party is willing to do both.

    June 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. pilot

    The moral authority to stand up for abuses of human rights, Rep. Candor? Where's your moral authority when people ar being tortured? Or held indefinitely without being told why, with no lawyer available or means to challenge their detainment? Where's your stand for human rights then?

    June 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Don

    While a nice gesture, this will accomplish precisely what? Congress needs to focus on OUR issues and stay out of this.

    June 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Peoples Voice

    Will you people take care of our business and stop sticking your noses in the Iranians business. What is wrong with you people?

    June 19, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. George

    What a Hypocrites are we and the Press ? Why so much of focus on this elections, while rest of the world nations like Burma, Tibet, Somalia and other nations smuggling drugs and killing thousands of people at home and abroad...it is simply not critical for us...we have our own colored glasses to look at the world ? Any way who makes this decision on what news sells...don't you think it is the other way round...what does the press wants to sell to public...including Iraq WAR when they followed Bush govt. towing...till the time that love affair/ presss interest faded away.....and Americans started realizing the truth...Stop the nonsense and give the real news not opinions..and what you think is important....leave the opinion part to people...

    June 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Bob

    I think President Obama has the right approach. “No Comment”. Once the United States government shows any sort of solidarity with the demonstrators it changes the dynamics of the situation. The Iranian government will be able to point to the Congresses resolution and say that the demonstrators are being controlled by the U.S. and trying to destroy the legitimately elected government of Iran. As the president has pointed out, the difference between the to opposition candidates is not significantly different and the demonstrators are not trying to topple their government. They are mad because they feel the one democratic right they have – the right to vote for their president – has been undermined

    June 19, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. LIP

    Compare this to the election between Bush and Gore. What would have happened had riots broken out in Florida after the Supreme court decision? What if people had done what they have done before like during the LA riots and started burning cars, terrorizing innocents and vandalizing stores. Do you think the government would have stood by watching the destruction without swat teams, dogs, firehoses, rubber bullets and all other necessary force required to stop the anarchy? Of course not. We can' t be absolutely sure that the election was rigged either. With that, all we can do is sit back and watch and wait and hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

    June 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Lynn

    Well, this is a meaningless piece of legislation.

    Don't they have anything better to do – like work on the economy, jobs or healthcare? Oh, I forgot, they have money, jobs and healthcare for life.

    Carry on.

    June 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. send in the CIA

    "...to stand up for these brave people, to defend human rights, and to condemn the violence ..."

    this came from a republican? Hard to believe, but maybe that is what getting your ass handed to you at the voters box will do.

    I say, as a liberal, send in the CIA and arm the dissidents

    June 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Frank

    The House should keep its collective mouth shut, lest it endanger the leaders of the protest movement in Iran.

    We have meddled in their affairs enough over the years that they must have an acute sense of smell for that sort of thing. We should avoid giving the hardliners even the thinnest pretext for cracking down.

    June 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Let's not forget we toppled their last real democracy in 1953 and installed the hated Shah in order to control their oil. He terrorized and killed many tens of thousands of his own countrymen with U.S. backing and funding. So of course Iranians fear our meddling in their affairs once again....wouldn't we in their shoes?

    June 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Beacon

    Again, I beg the questions: where is the PROOF that the elections were "rigged", especially now, given the Ayatollah's directive? Secondly, what is new about this "resolution"? President Obama has already stated American support of "due process" and the right for Iranians to demonstrate for their own issues. Thirdly, what "moral right" does America have to interfere in ANY other country's issues without being invited to do so? Does this mean that Iranians or Frenchmen or Britons or Canadians or whomever can start calling the RNC and asking about the rights of Minnesotans who have been deprived of their due representation in the Senate because of "due process"? What hypocracy!!!!!!

    June 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Fla.

    CANTor's hypocritical rhetoric sadly lacks credibility. If that were the case, what about the good people in Darfur?!

    June 19, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Dixon

    It appears to me that the people in Iran are working this out. I think for us to be involved could only make things worse. Our leaders need to get busy on fixing the mess we have here at home. Both Democrates and Republicans have been to busy trying to beat the other down for the next election. The majority of Americans are sick of the non-sense from the fringe of both parties.

    June 19, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. worriedmom

    Why are we wasting our time on this? The house and everyone should be concentrating on the problems of the United States.
    I pray for the safety of these people but listen the U.S. needs to start worrying about the U.S and get it acts together before it tells other what to do. Heck, the U.S. cannot even get a honest election down and we are suppose to be leaders????? How abuot the House make a resolution to get rid of ACORN and show people that we are in it to make elections fair and honest.

    June 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. southerncousin

    That will probably have the same effect as that tough resolution the "smart" diplomacy that the administration pushed through the UN to put sanctions on NKOREA. We can now ask one of their ships to pull over and be inspected, but if they say no, there is nothing we can do. That is some real tough sanction and an example of the Obama/Clinton "smart" diplomacy. What friggin' idiots.

    June 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. southerncousin

    That will probably have the same effect as that tough resolution the "smart" diplomacy that the administration pushed through the UN to put sanctions on NKOREA. We can now ask one of their ships to pull over and be inspected, but if they say no, there is nothing we can do. That is some real tough sanction and an example of the Obama/Clinton "smart" diplomacy. What friggin' idiots. In the meantime, get ready Hawaii, the "smart" diplomacy will result in a nuclear weapon heading toward you about July 4th. This administration should be tried for treason and thrown in Supermax.

    June 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
1 2 3