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. David Anthony

    American actions in foreign countries, especially Iran, should be thoroughly debated before being implemented, there are consequences that result from foreign intervention. If pres Ahmadinejad retains his position in spite of the actions occurring within his country and the U.S. does openly support the resistance then U.S.-Iranian affairs in the future will worsen. However an unstable Iran is not conducive to a stable middle east, which would in no way be a good thing. The U.S. has a moral obligation to promote those freedoms, not to ensure them, and especially not to force them upon another people. I also note that none of the reports which i have read have stated if the protesters where armed or threatening the lives of the police. If they were then the deaths of 7 (potentially more) could be explained. An armed revolt here in the U.S. against the government would bring military intervention. What i am saying is that these events may not be so easy to explain, so our leaders should not be rash, and should decide if intervention in Iran is really the best course of action for the American people.

    June 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Remember Tiannamen Square? They carried a mock-up of the Statue of Liberty as a way of telling America "we want your moral support".

    The Iranian protesters held up signs written in English for the same reason. But our President would not even issue a statement saying that America believes in the right of free demonstration.

    Kudos to those house for having the fortitude to do something.

    June 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  3. Victory Gin

    I'll tell you how we should respond...not at all. These people aren't being occupied by a foreign nation, they are voicing their discontent at the gov't that they themselves put into power.
    The US needs to stop sticking it's big, overbloated, self righteous nose into everyone's business and worry about the mess in it's own back yard. Seriously people...wake up and take the power back here at home.

    June 19, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. Fla.

    What part of not getting involved in other countries' elections does Congress NOT understand? This could be used as propaganda against the Iranian people we support!

    I swear we have some of the biggest idiots in Congress, especially the GOP and ANY Dem that falls for their neoconservative nonsense!

    June 19, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. Jeff Brown

    YAWN...another Republican ploy to undermine President Obama. As if the GOP cares about the Iranian people! BTW, who is this guy Pence? Sounds like he's gearing up for a presidential run...

    June 19, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. Leah

    The crowd chanted:"Death to America," "Death to Britain."
    and yet, America still wants to stick their busy nose to where it does not belong.
    Meddling with Iran will make things worse to those who protests on the street.

    June 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  7. goawayrepublicans

    Since when does the USA all of a sudden need to prove our beliefs and backing for democracy and freedom? Oh yeah we need an amendment from the War starved Republicans, after all they must be going through withdrawal since we havn't gone to a new war in over 5 years, seems like that is their limit. Maybe the house should be a little more concerned about the fact N. Korea is aiming missles right at us.

    Does America not already do this? Who are these people that say stupid, idiotic things like......

    "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."

    Really?

    How about we start by doing this in our own Country first, what a bunch of Hypocrites, why don't we start by protecting our own people from the likes of these guys and the NeoCons that really run the Republican party these days.....

    June 19, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Lynn

    America should butt out of Iran's business. How does anyone know what the majority of Iranians want? Look at the state of our country...Who are Americans to talk about human rights and democratic elections when 45 million of Americans have no health care....and after seven months still no senator....

    What happened to America foreign policy being one voice: that of the president? This is a Republican political ploy and generated by CNN who gives the voice to few peiople and ignores the voices of the experts even when they are speaking on their show. Even Ed Rollins this morning disagreed with Cantor and McCain.

    June 19, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Michigan

    Sounds like the GOP want us to get into another war over this.

    Iran's Supreme Leader has come out on the side of Iran's President, so that's pretty much the end of it. I've heard talk that some want to do the election over, but that's completely pointless, Ahmadinejad will just 'win' again.

    It's a horrible mess but we need to stay out of it. We've got two wars going already that we can't afford. And if this resolution passes it'll make it easy for Ahmadinejad to make the claim that those against him are allies of the 'evil' US.

    June 19, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Patty

    Why do we have to comment at all on this situation? Do we want other countries commenting on our problems? Weare not the only country on earth. They already say we are meddling. This only makes it worse. The protesters don't care what we think.

    June 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. donttreadonme

    I am glad someone is willing to take the side of freedom since Obama clearly will not.

    President Bush’s dream of Democracy in Middle East may one day be a reality!

    June 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Sam Sixpack

    Well, that ought to do it. We also need a resolution condemning global warming, and one condemning poverty, and hunger, and …

    If Iran doesn't let journalists wander around, how are we going to convince the sheeple that the propaganda we feed them is news?

    June 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. Brian

    Talk is cheap. Except when it takes a congress vote, then its just woefully silly.

    Also, they have to ask themselves, would they be making the same statements if the situation was reversed in Iran, and the opponent won and Ahmadinejad's followers were rioting about election fraud? Would we be sending a voice of support to his followers? I doubt it. Which just shows that the people behind this are all for fighting for human freedoms, when it correlates with what they want. If Moussavi won, even with allegations of cheating, I'm sure the same folks in congress would be saying it was a rousing success of democracy.

    It's clear America as a country isn't going to commit to any action in Iran, and we really shouldn't in my opinion. So why commence with the empty threat of stick-waving. Wasting time voting on this type of stuff just makes us look silly in my opinion.

    June 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Party Crasher

    How about putting the same amount of effort into solving some of the problems we have here.

    June 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. David

    the revolts for the most part have not been armed, i still believe that action in Iran should not be taken rashly, but unarmed protesters should not be killed for what they say. we may be looking at another Tiena min square event

    June 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. ANNY

    Cantor you and all your republicans can sit back and shut up, you lost the election it is Obama's time to decide what we should do, not the GOP, all you people want is MORE WAR......and all you democrats that sound more like the GOP and do not support your democratic President can look at being dumped the next time you come up for election......

    June 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. eliot from chicago

    How do you say "The Whole World is Watching" in Farsi?

    June 19, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Liberal say what?

    A resolution?

    Isn't that what the UN is supposed to do?

    June 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Melissa

    Vote on what exactly? The United States needs to butt out of this conflict. Do NOT take sides in this. It isn't your country, and frankly isn't really your business. This is something the Iranians need to do for themselves.

    June 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. DRB

    Way to go Congress!!! Freedom for all mankind is a far better than than peace. BOO the President for not making a statement in favor of Freedom and support of the Iranians who are seeking fairness, freedom and democracy. I wonder if the President supports these basic concepts upon which we were founded?

    June 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. David

    U.S. says May unemployment topped 10% in 13 states. Michigan soared to 14.1%, followed by Oregon, Rhode Island, S. Carolina, Calif.

    June 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. David

    U.S. says May unemployment topped 10% in 13 states. Michigan soared to 14.1%, followed by Oregon, Rhode Island, S. Carolina, Calif.

    ***Obama ROCKS***

    June 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. citizenjane

    How curious that those in Congress least likely to support President Obama's initiatives these past 5 months while doing everything possible to diminish his presidency, are now talking resolutions in support the the Iranian protesters . . . Skewed logic?

    June 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. Ken in NC

    I guess it is OK for our government to give a vote of support to the people of Iran but we need to be careful to remember how we would react if we were told that our elections were unfair and that we needed to do them over again.

    Republicans need to shut up least they will have us in a third war. I am tired of war. We (My Country) has been at war all of my 61 years on this earth. I am sick of it. I gave my fair share and have many friends that gave all they had to give while people like Cheney claim they had more important things to do and yet people like him are now trying to drive us into another war. Those kinds of people need to shut up. North Korea is going to do it for them and when they do we will strike back and it is possible that China will stand behind North Korea and we will have another world war then so stop all the war talk people.

    June 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. carlo

    Everyone is saying push back, but I ask, push back to what? It is a sovereign nation that had an election. That would have been like Iran meddling in the 2000 election fiasco. We as Americans wouldn't have stood for it, no matter how much we opposed the process.

    We interfered with Iran's elections once before. That is how Iran ended up with Islamic rule and a Supreme Leader. Let's not forget the fact that we can't exactly start a war with anyone right now.

    But I forgot, Republicans love war.

    June 19, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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