Senate Passes Hoeven-Blumenthal Resolution Calling for Free and Fair Presidential Election in Iran

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statements today after the Senate passed their resolution, S. Res. 154, which calls on the Government of Iran to hold a free, fair and open presidential election this Friday, June 14. The resolution highlights the fact that the Iranian regime blocked numerous candidates from running in the presidential election and that Iran’s government has a long history of abusing human rights and holding elections that are neither free nor fair.

“In supporting this resolution, the United States Senate again sends a clear message to the oppressive Iranian regime,” said Hoeven. “The eyes of the world are watching Friday’s election, and we condemn the country’s historically corrupt election process and remain committed to standing with the people of Iran as they continue striving for fundamental human and democratic rights, including the right to free and fair elections.”

“This strongly supported bi-partisan resolution tells the corrupt, cruel regime that the world is watching -- and we stand with Iran’s people against sham, rigged elections. The regime’s denial of free and fair elections in Iran enables their Supreme Leader to continue the flow of arms to the Hezbollah terrorist organization and Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing quest for nuclear arms -- which must be stopped. The Senate has spoken with one voice that the Potemkin exercise to be held on Friday fools nobody and does nothing to hide the fact that the uranium centrifuges keep spinning in Iran to make to nuclear weapons-grade material. The people of Iran, and the world, deserve better.”

Last year, the Senate passed the Hoeven-Blumenthal sponsored resolution, S. Res. 386, which called on the Government of Iran to respect universal human rights and hold elections that are inclusive and consistent with international standards as the country prepared for its March 2, 2012, parliamentary elections.

The text of the resolution follows.

Whereas democracy, human rights, and civil liberties are universal values and fundamental principles of the foreign policy of the United States;

Whereas an essential element of democratic self-government is for leaders to be chosen and regularly held accountable through elections that are organized and conducted in a manner that is free, fair, inclusive, and consistent with international standards;

Whereas governments in which power does not derive from free and fair elections lack democratic legitimacy;

Whereas elections in Iran are marred by the disqualification of candidates based on their political views, the absence of credible international observers, widespread intimidation and repression of candidates, political parties, and citizens, and systemic electoral fraud and manipulation;

Whereas elections in Iran consistently involve severe restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and association, including censorship, surveillance, disruptions in telecommunications, and absence of a free media;

Whereas the current president of Iran came to office through an election on June 12, 2009, that was widely condemned in Iran and throughout the world as neither free nor fair and provoked large-scale peaceful protests throughout Iran;

Whereas authorities in Iran continue to hold several candidates from the 2009 election under house arrest;

Whereas the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran banned more than 2,200 candidates from participating in the March 2, 2012, parliamentary elections and refused to allow domestic or international election observers to oversee those elections;

Whereas the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to prevent the people of Iran from accessing news and information by disrupting access to the Internet, including blocking e-mail and social networking sites, limiting access to foreign news and websites, and developing a national Internet that will facilitate government censorship of news and information, and by jamming international broadcasts such as the Voice of America Persian News Network and Radio Farda, a Persian language broadcast of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty;

Whereas authorities in Iran have announced that a presidential election will be held on June 14, 2013; and

Whereas the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader of Iran have blocked numerous candidates from participating in the June 14, 2013, presidential election: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) recalls Senate Resolution 386, 112th Congress, agreed to March 5, 2012, which called for free and fair elections in Iran;

(2) reaffirms the commitment of the United States to democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law, including the universal rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association;

(3) expresses support for freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law in Iran, and for elections that are free and fair;

(4) expresses strong support for the people of Iran in their peaceful calls for a representative and responsive democratic government that respects human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law;

(5) condemns the widespread human rights violations of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran;

(6) calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect freedom of expression and association in Iran by--

(A) holding elections that are free, fair, and responsive to the people of Iran, including by refraining from disqualifying candidates for political reasons;

(B) ending 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 freedom of the press, assembly, association, and expression;

(C) lifting legislative restrictions on freedom of the press, assembly, association, and expression; and

(D) allowing the Internet to remain free and open and allowing domestic and international media to operate freely;

(7) calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow international election monitors to be present for the June 14, 2013 election; and

(8) urges the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and other world leaders--

(A) to express support for the rights and freedoms of the people of Iran, including to democratic self-government;

(B) to engage with the people of Iran and support their efforts to promote human rights and democratic reform, including supporting civil society organizations that promote democracy and governance;

(C) to support policies and programs that preserve free and open access to the Internet in Iran; and

(D) to condemn elections that are not free and fair and that do not meet international standards.