From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on the U.S. to support Iranians protesting their regime. 

On Thursday, Rubio teamed up with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to back a resolution supporting the protesters and condemning the Iranian government’s human rights record. 

The resolution also “encourages the President, the Secretary of State, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to work to convene emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Government of Iran and establish a monitoring mechanism by which the Council can monitor such violations” and “calls on the Government of Iran to cooperate with and allow visits of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Human Rights and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.” The resolution also “urges the President and Secretary of State to work with the international community to ensure that violations of human rights are part of all formal and informal multilateral or bilateral discussions with and regarding Iran.”
 
When the protests began, Rubio said that the international community needed to support them and ensure the Iranian regime did not try to crack down on them. 

“All nations must hold the regime in Tehran fully accountable for any suppression of peaceful demonstrators in Iran,” Rubio said at the start of the week. “The Iranian people have a right to peacefully protest the regime’s rampant corruption, and to call for a truly representative government that protects human rights, upholds the impartial rule of law, and seeks peace with all of its neighbors.”

Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also weighed in on the matter. 

“As protests in Iran continue, I support the legitimate desires of the Iranian people for dignity and fundamental freedoms, economic opportunity, and a government that is responsive to its citizens,” Cardin said this week. “The ability to peacefully protest is a universal right, and I applaud the courage and commitment of Iran’s citizens across the country who have taken to the streets to call for reform despite the risks of violence and government-directed repression.

“I extend my condolences to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives in pursuit of change and freedom,” Cardin added. “I call on the Government of Iran to respect the right of its citizens to peacefully protest.  The most effective government response is to acknowledge the economic grievances and concerns expressed by the protestors and to immediately take steps to respond, such as ending the entrenched system of corruption and halting programs of state-sponsored terrorism that deprive the vast majority of Iran’s people of government resources and economic opportunities. 

“The world is closely watching how Iranian officials respond to the legitimate calls of Iran’s citizens for reform.  If the response is violence, repression, and imprisonment, the United States has tools to target human rights abusers – these include sanctions authorized in the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act,” Cardin continued.  “I also urge the administration to explore options for sending signals of support to the Iranian people.  A good start would be immediately removing Iran from the travel ban.”

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