Advocates of further pressure and an aggressive stance on the Iranian government continue to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill, even as the Biden administration appears to be abandoning them in favor of the policies of the previous Democratic administration.
On Friday, dozens of lawmakers from both major parties attended an event hosted by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, which said it supports the goals of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an international group of Iranian dissidents who have opposed the Iranian government particularly supports its current President Ebrahim Raisi for his alleged involvement in human rights abuses and massacres.
At the event, members of Congress (a group made up mostly of Republicans and centrist or conservative Democrats) reiterated their support for the Iranian people while denouncing the Iranian government. Meanwhile, the event’s keynote speaker, Maryam Rajavi, used her address to call on assembled lawmakers from both parties to divert the US administration from the path currently being pursued by the Biden administration, which appears to be backing the US and Iran in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Democrats in attendance included Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Sheila Jackson Lee and Brad Sherman, the latter of whom is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its relevant Middle East subcommittee. They listened as Ms Rajavi denounced “a decade”. [of] futile negotiations with the regime” which they say led to “the opportunity to advance his nuclear project”.
It would continue to push for a much stronger position than the Biden administration on Iran; a policy of “anytime, anywhere” nuclear site inspections; and a commitment to UN sanctions, which were lifted under the 2015 accord and then reinstated by the US after the Trump administration withdrew from the deal.
Otherwise, there will only be “more conflict, carnage and insecurity in the region,” she warned.
Democrats making statements at or after the event broadly reiterated their support for a House resolution expressing support for the Iranian people and calling on the US to “prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions.” ‘ but they refrained from voicing reservations about the Biden administration’s actions towards Iran
“Today we commemorate the anniversary of the 1979 revolution for freedom in Iran. We say no to the Shah’s one-party dictatorship, no to the theocracy of the mullahs, and yes to democracy and a republican form of government,” said Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois.
He added: “I am proud to be a co-sponsor of House Resolution 118 to support the Iranian people’s aspiration for a democratic, secular and non-nuclear Republic of Iran. And I support the Iranian government’s condemnation of human rights abuses and state-sponsored terrorism in the resolution.”
Other members of the party who have attended OIAC or NCRI events in the past were less reluctant to offer their advice on the matter. Former Congressman Eliot Engel, chairman of the panel on foreign affairs, said The Independent last year that he urged the president to “get a new deal, a better deal, one that brings Iran closer to democracy” instead of returning to the one negotiated under his former boss Barack Obama.
This was announced by officials in the Biden administration New York Times In late January, that the administration was close to reaching an agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, a development that would deal a major blow to Iranian hawks, who saw their policies backed by the Trump administration and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and have argued that economic pressures, including international sanctions, can weaken the Iranian regime to the point of complete collapse.
Under the terms currently being discussed by senior diplomats from both countries, “if these decisions are made and if they are made quickly, we can see a path towards an agreement,” a State Department official said Just Last month.