Iran General NewsUS lawmakers flock to support Iran sanctions bill

US lawmakers flock to support Iran sanctions bill

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AFP: Allegations that Iran’s president-elect played a key role in the 1979 US embassy takeover in Tehran has given new impetus to a House of Representatives bill slapping sanctions on the regime. House lawmakers on Thursday gave renewed support to The Iran Freedom Support Act, introduced by Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The legislation, introduced by Ros-Lehtinen in January, already had 250 co-sponsors before the revelations, but the number of backers rose to over 300 after revelations that Iran’s hardliner president-elect, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, may have played a role as a hostage taker. AFP

WASHINGTON – Allegations that Iran’s president-elect played a key role in the 1979 US embassy takeover in Tehran has given new impetus to a House of Representatives bill slapping sanctions on the regime.

House lawmakers on Thursday gave renewed support to The Iran Freedom Support Act, introduced by Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

The legislation, introduced by Ros-Lehtinen in January, already had 250 co-sponsors before the revelations, but the number of backers rose to over 300 after revelations that Iran’s hardliner president-elect, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, may have played a role as a hostage taker.

“It’s time to make Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime pay for their despicable behavior,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House International Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia.

“This bill seeks to hold Iran accountable for its actions, and to help neutralize threats form this pariah state that seeks to harm our nation and persists in its efforts to acquire materials and technology to construct even deadlier weapons,” the Republican lawmaker said in a statement.

She continued: “Election of a leader with Ahmadinejad’s past is par for the course by Iran, a rogue nation whose unsavory behavior and associations render it one of the United States’ greatest national security threats,” and said the link underscores the ruthlessness and the danger posed by the new regime.

“In particular, Iran’s nuclear program combined with its support for terrorist organizations worldwide, raises the prospect of a potential transfer of WMD materials or components to terrorist organizations,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

Among other provisions, the bill would provide US financial backing to groups promoting democracy in Iran, and attempt, by various means, to intensify US efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

The legislation also calls on Iran to hold “free, transparent, and democratic elections” and to promote “human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press.”

Five former US hostages accuse Ahmadinejad of being among the students who held them during the siege of the US embassy 26 years ago.

Some 90 people inside the embassy compound were taken hostage. Fifty-two remained in captivity for 444 days until being set free in January 1981.

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