US Congressional Committee ApprovesIran Democracy Promotion Legislation
Voice of America - Report Section

Apr 14, 2005



House Middle East Subcommittee
VOA photo - D. Robinson

AU.S. congressional committee has approved legislation seeking tostrengthen existing U.S. sanctions on Iran and put more pressure onIran's government on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, whileproviding greater support for Iranian democracy groups.

TheIran Freedom Support Act declares it should be U.S. policy to supporthuman rights and pro-democracy forces in the United States and abroadopposing what it calls the non-democratic government ofIran.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Thebill, whose authors say is supported by some 140 House members, wasapproved Wednesday by the House Middle East Subcommittee chaired byFlorida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "Iran is the full ticket.It has medium and long-range missile programs, it is believed to have(a) chemical and biological weapons program, it is pursuing nuclearcapabilities, it remains the most active state sponsor of terrorismin the world," he said.

Thelegislation codifies existing sanctions against Iran, under the 1996Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, and includes stricter provisions regardingthe waiving of sanctions by the president, and requirements forinvestigations of suspected investments in Iran.

Asbefore, sanctions would remain until the president certifies Tehranhas dismantled weapons of mass destruction programs and commits tocombating proliferation of such weapons.

Thebill also threatens to withhold foreign assistance from countriesinvesting in Iran's energy sector by defining this as direct supportfor Iran's regime.

Lawmakerssay stronger provisions are aimed at closing loopholes allowingforeign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to circumvent penaltiesregarding investment in Iran.

"TheIran-Libya sanctions has been law although no one has ever beensanctioned under it. Instead, we have a grand bargain with ourEuropean and Japanese friends if they will pretend to take ourconcerns about Iran seriously, we will pretend to enforce our laws.In the meantime, Iran inches ever closer to acquiring a nuclearweapon," said Congressman Gary Ackerman, the top Democrat on theHouse Middle East Subcommittee.

The legislationurges, but does not require, U.S. government and other pension fundsto divest from existing investments in companies subject to sanctionsunder the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and to avoid futureinvestment.

The billcontains mandatory sanctions for persons or entities helping Iranacquire or develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons orrelated technologies, or what it calls destabilizing conventionalweapons.

What the UnitedStates suspects is Iran's effort to acquire nuclear weapons under theguise of domestic energy development is a key focus.

It urgesPresident Bush to press for a U.N. Security Council resolutionrequiring Tehran to provide international inspectors unrestrictedaccess to its nuclear facilities, with a threat of furthersanctions.

Thelegislation would authorize funding for groups pressing fordemocratic reform, human rights, and civil liberties inIran.

However,it requires that such groups also oppose the use of terrorism, aprovision linked to the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq,still officially listed by the State Department as a terroristorganization.

CongresswomanRos-Lehtinen cautions there will be strict standards for assistance,adding in her words, it is not that you can just re-invent yourselfas a pro-democracy group in order to get funding.

Thelegislation would also fund independent democracy and radio andtelevision broadcasters for Iran.

The U.S.government finances Radio Farda, which broadcasts to Iran, as well astelevision and radio broadcasts by the Voice of America's Persianservice.

The IranFreedom Act is likely to be approved by the full House InternationalRelations Committee. Similar Iran legislation is pending in theSenate.

CongresswomanRos-Lehtinen says Bush administration support will be crucial tochances for approval by both houses of Congress.

Title: To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for itsthreatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy inIran.
Sponsor: RepRos-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] (introduced 1/6/2005)     Cosponsors(136)
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2005 Referred to House committee.Status: Referred to the House Committee on InternationalRelations.

COSPONSORS(136), ALPHABETICAL[followed by Cosponsorswithdrawn]:     (Sort: bydate)

Rep Ackerman, Gary L. [NY-5] - 1/6/2005

Rep Aderholt, Robert B. [AL-4] - 4/5/2005

Rep Alexander, Rodney [LA-5] - 3/16/2005

Rep Andrews, Robert E. [NJ-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] - 4/5/2005

Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] - 1/6/2005

Rep Baker, Richard H. [LA-6] - 2/15/2005

Rep Bass, Charles F. [NH-2] - 4/5/2005

Rep Bean, Melissa L. [IL-8] - 3/8/2005

Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] - 1/6/2005

Rep Biggert, Judy [IL-13] - 1/6/2005

Rep Boehlert, Sherwood [NY-24] - 1/6/2005

Rep Bonilla, Henry [TX-23] - 2/15/2005

Rep Bonner, Jo [AL-1] - 4/5/2005

Rep Bono, Mary [CA-45] - 2/17/2005

Rep Boozman, John [AR-3] - 3/14/2005

Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [LA-7] - 4/5/2005

Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny [FL-5] - 3/16/2005

Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] - 1/6/2005

Rep Butterfield, G. K. [NC-1] - 2/16/2005

Rep Cantor, Eric [VA-7] - 1/6/2005

Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] - 3/14/2005

Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] - 3/17/2005

Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] - 1/6/2005

Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] - 2/17/2005

Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] - 4/8/2005

Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4] - 3/10/2005

Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] - 3/14/2005

Rep Cox, Christopher [CA-48] - 1/6/2005

Rep Crowley, Joseph [NY-7] - 1/6/2005

Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28] - 3/17/2005

Rep Cunningham, Randy (Duke) [CA-50] - 4/8/2005

Rep Davis, Artur [AL-7] - 4/5/2005

Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] - 2/16/2005

Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4] - 4/5/2005

Rep Davis, Jo Ann [VA-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Davis, Lincoln [TN-4] - 4/8/2005

Rep Dent, Charles W. [PA-15] - 2/9/2005

Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [FL-21] - 1/6/2005

Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] - 1/6/2005

Rep Doolittle, John T. [CA-4] - 2/9/2005

Rep Edwards, Chet [TX-17] - 3/14/2005

Rep Emanuel, Rahm [IL-5] - 2/9/2005

Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 1/6/2005

Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F. H. [AS] - 1/6/2005

Rep Ferguson, Mike [NJ-7] - 3/14/2005

Rep Foley, Mark [FL-16] - 1/6/2005

Rep Garrett, Scott [NJ-5] - 1/6/2005

Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] - 2/9/2005

Rep Green, Gene [TX-29] - 3/16/2005

Rep Green, Mark [WI-8] - 1/6/2005

Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 3/17/2005

Rep Harris, Katherine [FL-13] - 1/6/2005

Rep Hart, Melissa A. [PA-4] - 4/8/2005

Rep Herger, Wally [CA-2] - 3/16/2005

Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2] - 1/6/2005

Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49] - 2/15/2005

Rep Jindal, Bobby [LA-1] - 3/14/2005

Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] - 1/6/2005

Rep Kelly, Sue W. [NY-19] - 2/9/2005

Rep Kirk, Mark Steven [IL-10] - 1/6/2005

Rep Kline, John [MN-2] - 2/15/2005

Rep Knollenberg, Joe [MI-9] - 3/17/2005

Rep Kuhl, John R. "Randy", Jr. [NY-29] - 3/16/2005

Rep Lantos, Tom [CA-12] - 1/6/2005

Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] - 1/6/2005

Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 4/5/2005

Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 2/9/2005

Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2] - 3/8/2005

Rep Mack, Connie [FL-14] - 3/8/2005

Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 4/8/2005

Rep McCarthy, Carolyn [NY-4] - 3/14/2005

Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10] - 2/15/2005

Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11] - 1/6/2005

Rep McCrery, Jim [LA-4] - 4/8/2005

Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10] - 3/8/2005

Rep McHugh, John M. [NY-23] - 3/1/2005

Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21] - 2/15/2005

Rep Meek, Kendrick B. [FL-17] - 2/17/2005

Rep Melancon, Charlie [LA-3] - 3/16/2005

Rep Menendez, Robert [NJ-13] - 1/6/2005

Rep Mica, John L. [FL-7] - 1/6/2005

Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2] - 4/5/2005

Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10] - 2/16/2005

Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18] - 4/8/2005

Rep Myrick, Sue [NC-9] - 1/6/2005

Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 1/6/2005

Rep Norwood, Charlie [GA-9] - 1/6/2005

Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21] - 1/6/2005

Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [NJ-6] - 2/16/2005

Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] - 1/6/2005

Rep Pickering, Charles W. (Chip) [MS-3] - 2/9/2005

Rep Platts, Todd Russell [PA-19] - 1/6/2005

Rep Poe, Ted [TX-2] - 4/5/2005

Rep Pombo, Richard W. [CA-11] - 3/16/2005

Rep Porter, Jon C. [NV-3] - 1/6/2005

Rep Renzi, Rick [AZ-1] - 2/9/2005

Rep Reynolds, Thomas M. [NY-26] - 4/5/2005

Rep Rogers, Mike [MI-8] - 4/8/2005

Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] - 1/6/2005

Rep Rothman, Steven R. [NJ-9] - 1/6/2005

Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 4/5/2005

Rep Sanchez, Loretta [CA-47] - 3/8/2005

Rep Saxton, Jim [NJ-3] - 1/6/2005

Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 2/15/2005

Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] - 4/5/2005

Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 2/15/2005

Rep Scott, David [GA-13] - 3/17/2005

Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5] - 3/10/2005

Rep Sessions, Pete [TX-32] - 3/17/2005

Rep Shaw, E. Clay, Jr. [FL-22] - 3/8/2005

Rep Shays, Christopher [CT-4] - 4/8/2005

Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-27] - 1/6/2005

Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19] - 1/6/2005

Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2] - 3/17/2005

Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] - 1/6/2005

Rep Souder, Mark E. [IN-3] - 1/6/2005

Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6] - 2/15/2005

Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1] - 1/6/2005

Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. [CO-6] - 1/6/2005

Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] - 4/5/2005

Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] - 4/8/2005

Rep Van Hollen, Chris [MD-8] - 3/16/2005

Rep Visclosky, Peter J. [IN-1] - 4/5/2005

Rep Walsh, James T. [NY-25] - 2/9/2005

Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] - 4/5/2005

Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30] - 3/1/2005

Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 4/5/2005

Rep Weldon, Dave [FL-15] - 4/8/2005

Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 1/6/2005

Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 1/6/2005

Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2] - 1/6/2005

Rep Wynn, Albert Russell [MD-4] - 4/5/2005