The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed a resolution 405-1, with two voting present, criticizing Iran for its recent crack down on protestors and communication lines in the wake of last week’s contested election. Ron Raul was the lone dissenter.
The House of Representatives expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law; condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.
The measure started as a Republican push to criticize President Obama’s somewhat lukewarm remarks on the protests thus far but drew bipartisan support after the Administration spent much of yesterday negotiating watered down language (though, oddly, if you believe this AP story Dems supported the resolution because they apparently can’t resist voicing immediate support for Israel at every turn). The GOP cast the vote as a rebuke of Obama. “The Administration should take a stronger stand against the Iranian regime, and that starts with sending the Iranian people the same message of support Congress sent them today,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement.
The resolution is typical of House or Senate resolutions on foreign policy that can go far beyond anything the White House or State Department can say publically – sorry Boehner, there’s zero chance that Obama sends the Iranian people that same message. But the resolution stops short at declaring support for the Iranian opposition’s demands for a recount – something the Obama Administration has said would be counter productive as it could be seen as meddling in the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation. Though, U.S. meddling in Iranian affairs in the past has looked more like CIA-sponsored coups than House resolutions.