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Letter to President Donald Trump - Roskam Leads Letter Urging Admin to Lift Waiver on Irib Sanctions


Dear President Trump:

We write with grave concern about the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and its continued repression of the Iranian people. IRIB continues to perpetrate serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran, and U.S. sanctions against IRIB should be fully enforced.

In December 2012, Congress enacted the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, which required the President to impose secondary sanctions on IRIB. The legislation specifically cited IRIB's broadcasting of "forced televised confessions and show trials" as the basis for the sanctions. In February 2013, the Obama administration complied with the law and designated IRIB and its director for restricting the free flow of information to the Iranian people and for contributing to human rights abuses. One year later, in what observers believed was a confidence building measure amidst an interim nuclear agreement, the administration waived the application of sanctions on IRIB.

Today, IRIB continues to engage in the same activity for which Congress mandated sanctions in 2012: forced confessions of political dissidents. After withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, your administration took several important steps to help combat human rights abuses perpetrated by Iran's ruling regime. The Office of Foreign Asset Control designated Ansar-E Hizbllah for its attacks on Iranian citizens in collaboration with the Basij; Evin Prison and Hanista programming group for their role in the violent suppression of protestors; and Abdulali Ali-Asgari, the director of IRIB. Yet, the Congressionally-mandated secondary sanctions targeting IRIB itself continue to be suspended.

It is vital that America fully enforce sanctions against IRIB to pressure the regime to end its practice of forced televised confessions, which frequently lead to increased jail time and even death sentences for dissidents. As new protests erupt in Iran every day, the people of Iran are looking to the United States to stand with them with more than just words. We urge you to answer their call by fully enforcing U.S. sanctions against IRIB.