Hoeven, Blumenthal Introduce Resolution Calling for a Free and Fair Presidential Election in Iran

WASHINGTON – In support of the Iranian people, Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the Government of Iran to hold a free, fair and open presidential election next month. The resolution highlights the fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader, who outranks the president, is not accountable to the Iranian people through elections, and that Iran’s government has a long history of abusing human rights and holding elections that are neither free nor fair.

“Iran needs to know that the eyes of the world are on them, and that a dishonest presidential election will not provide legitimacy to the Iranian regime,” Hoeven said. “Candidates have been blocked from standing for election for political reasons, and the real power continues to reside with the Supreme Leader who is unelected and unaccountable. This resolution will show the world that we know the voices of the people of Iran will not be reflected in this so-called election.”

“This resolution makes clear that Iran’s elections are neither free nor fair and their government continues to lack legitimacy,” said Blumenthal. “Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential elections, it is important to note that real power continues to rest with the Supreme Leader who has continued Iran’s nuclear program despite international pressure.”

The resolution comes as Iran prepares to hold a presidential election on June 14. The country’s last presidential election was held in 2009 and was widely condemned inside Iran and throughout the world as neither free nor fair. The election provoked large-scale peaceful protests throughout the country, which the government responded to with intensified repression.

The upcoming presidential election has received further international scrutiny because of the vast, unchecked power the Supreme Leader of Iran possesses. The Supreme Leader is unelected, has the power to veto any decision made by Iran’s president or parliament and controls the country’s foreign and defense policy. Current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been in power since 1989 and has never been subject to any form of popular referendum.

The Senate resolution introduced today calls for an end to “arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of harassment against media professionals, human rights defenders and activists, and opposition figures, and releasing all individuals detained for exercising universally recognized human rights; lifting legislative restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and expression; and allowing the Internet to remain free and open and allowing domestic and international media to operate freely.” The resolution further calls on Iranian officials “to allow international election monitors to be present for the June 14, 2013, election.”