Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Kaufman Leads Press Conference to Mark One-Year Anniversary of Flawed Iranian Elections, Condemn Continued Human Rights Abuses in Iran

June 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) held a press conference today to discuss the human rights situation in Iran one year after the flawed elections.
 
Earlier this week, they were joined by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Carl Levin (D-MI) in introducing S. Res. 551, which was passed by the Senate unanimously on Monday evening, to mark the one year anniversary of the flawed Iranian elections, express support for the Iranian people in their struggle for democracy and freedom and condemn human rights abuses perpetrated by the Iranian government.

Kaufman’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

I am pleased to join Senators Casey, Lieberman, and McCain today to mark one year since the flawed Iranian election, and condemn the Iranian government for its ongoing repression and unconscionable abuse of human rights.
 
On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed S.Res.551 introduced by the four Senators here today, along with Senators Levin, Kyl, Feingold, Brownback, Shaheen, Graham, and Menendez.  This issue supersedes partisan politics, and I am pleased the Senate has spoken in one voice in calling on the Government of Iran to bring its deplorable actions to an end.
 
This resolution sends a strong message to the people of Iran that America stands with them in their ongoing struggle from democracy, freedom, and human rights.  It also sends a message to the Iranian government that the U.S. is watching how they treat their people as we also focus on its illicit nuclear program.  A year may have passed, but the events of June 12 and its aftermath have not been forgotten. And today we reiterate the Senate’s condemnation of the Government of Iran for its deplorable record of human rights violations.
 
One year ago, the Iranian people took the streets and the Internet to express their dismay with the outcome of the severely flawed presidential election.  They demonstrated through both words and deed that they will not be silenced despite ongoing threats.  This is why we commend Iranians who have braved the persistent and pervasive threat of censorship, arrest, physical harassment, and death to peacefully exercise their rights, as enshrined in international law.

Since the election, the Government of Iran has systemically restricted and suppressed free press, free expression, free assembly, and free access to the Internet and other forms of connective technology to limit the flow of information, silence political opposition, and quell rising popular dissent.  

Freedom House confirmed that Iran leads the world in the number of jailed journalists, and the Iranian government has intentionally restricted foreign press access, banned more than 60 international media outlets, and jammed international broadcasts, including those of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Radio Farda, Voice of America’s Persian News Network, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other non-Iranian news services.
 
This behavior toward the press – coupled with its reprehensible record on human rights – is unacceptable under any circumstances, and that is why the Senate just passed its sixth resolution in the past year condemning the Iranian government.  This far exceeds the number of resolutions condemning any other country’s record on human rights, and I hope the Iranian government has taken note of this shameful and embarrassing fact.
 
In addition, I am pleased to have been joined by Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Casey in passing the Victims of Iranian Censorship, or VOICE, Act last year, which authorized funding for the development of censorship circumvention technology in Iran and encouraged expanded U.S. broadcasting into Iran.
 
Today, we denounce the atmosphere of impunity for those who intimidate, harass, and commit violence against Iranian citizens, and call for the unconditional release of all political and religious prisoners in Iran, as well as missing and detained American citizens.  We also urge the President and Secretary of State to continue to mobilize resources to support freedom of expression and the press in Iran, and continue to work with the international community to ensure that human rights are part of all bilateral and multilateral discussions related to Iran.

I hope this sixth resolution on Iranian human rights violations is the final condemnation to be issued by the Senate, but – mark my words – we will not remain silent if its behavior continues as is, or even worse, with a vengeance.

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