Dem Senator Stalls Bill Sanctioning Iranian Regime
TEHRAN, IRAN - OCTOBER 18: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - " IRANIAN LEADER'S PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei speaks during his meeting with students in Tehran, Iran on October 18, 2017. (Photo by Iranian Leader's Press Office - Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iranian Leader’s Press Office – Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Maryland Democrat senator prompted anger from Iranian dissidents opposed to the theocratic despotic Iranian regime when he informed them he would stall a bill sanctioning the leaders of the Iranian government for decades of human rights abuses.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a December 21 email saying he would not move forward with the MAHSA act, writing Iranian-American activist Nick Nikbakht, “At this time, our office will not be moving forward with this bill.”


“Despite the persistent advocacy, multiple meetings, and heartfelt pleas by Maryland constituents who sent letters, we’ve seen no movement from Senator Cardin and, more recently, been informed that they will not be moving forward with the bipartisan human rights bill,” Nikbakht told the Washington Free Beacon.

“Senate Democrats are delaying Israel aid while refusing to sanction Iran, the leading state backer of terrorism and the sworn enemy of Israel, Rep. Jim Banks, the sponsor of the MAHSA Act, (R-IN) told the Free Beacon. “We’re letting our enemies off the hook and leaving our allies in the lurch. It’s a recipe for chaos.”

On September 12, 2023, the House overwhelmingly passed the MAHSA Act, which stated it was to “impose sanctions on the Supreme Leader of Iran and the President of Iran and their respective offices for human rights abuses and support for terrorism.” The Act continued:

On September 16, 2022, a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the detention of the Morality Police after being beaten and detained for allegedly transgressing discriminatory dress codes for women. This tragic incident triggered widespread, pro-women’s rights, pro-democracy protests across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, calling for the end to Iran’s theocratic regime.

In the course of the protests, the Iranian security forces’ violent crackdown includes mass arrests, well documented beating of protestors, throttling of the internet and telecommunications services, and shooting protestors with live ammunition. Iranian security forces have reportedly killed hundreds of protestors and other civilians, including women and children, and wounded many more.

Banks stated, “Days before the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s tragic murder and a week after the Iranian regime arrested her uncle, we have sent a clear message of support to the many victims of the Iranian regime’s repression and to those leaders in Washington who refuse to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its crimes. The U.S. House is unified around the need to sanction Iran for its egregious human rights violations and its support for terrorism. I call on the Senate to immediately take up and pass Senator Rubio and Senator Padilla’s companion legislation and force President Biden to punish the murderers of Mahsa Amini.”

The National Union for Democracy in Iran added, “As the people of Iran continue their movement for freedom and democracy on the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s murder, the MAHSA Act is an important step in correcting the record on the Islamic Republic regime in Iran. It is not a partner worthy of engagement, but a brutal dictatorship whose opponents– the freedom-loving people of Iran– deserve America’s solidarity.”

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