US House Panel Votes to Sanction Iran for Alleged Rights Abuses

US House Panel Votes to Sanction Iran for Alleged Rights AbusesUS House Panel Votes to Sanction Iran for Alleged Rights Abuses

The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday passed four bipartisan measures, including legislation sanctioning Iran for alleged human rights abuses.

The committee, which is a standing committee of the House of Representatives, was chaired by Rep. Ed Royce, a prominent Republican critic of the Iran nuclear agreement, according to an official press statement.  

Commenting on the act known as Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, he alleged that the Iranian government "has systematically squashed all opposition in Iran with brutal tactics, including torture and mass executions."

"Yet very few Iranian government officials have been designated for human rights violations," Royce said, singling out the head of the country's judiciary whom he said had not been designated specifically for alleged human rights abuses until last December.


***US Citizens  

The official also criticized Tehran for holding American citizens on what he claimed are "sham charges" as part of "the largest ransom schemes ever devised".


It is far past time that Iranian officials face consequences for their "attacks on Americans and Iranians alike," he contended, adding that the legislation in question aims to do so.

The act still must be approved by the House and Senate before it can be sent to President Donald Trump for signing into law.

Tehran has repeatedly denied allegations of human rights abuses, accusing Washington of double standards and interference in its internal affairs. Iran does not recognize dual nationality, so dual nationals are treated as Iranian citizens.


***News Media

In a separate development, the US State Department on Thursday called the Iranian government's treatment of the news media "unacceptable", noting reports claiming that journalists have been jailed and harassed in the country.

The State Department cited a United Nations Human Rights Council report released earlier on Iran alleging that journalists have been harassed, arbitrarily detained, banned from traveling and monitored by intelligence operatives, the Hill reported.

The US government earlier this year voiced support for citizens protesting against the Iranian government.

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