Sen. Cruz Introduces the Human Rights Accountability Act
Bill would fine State Department for continued illegal delays of Iran human rights report
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today introduced the Human Rights Accountability Act to incentivize the U.S. Department of State to issue a report on Iran’s human rights record. The bill would withhold five percent of the Department’s operating budget – with the exception of funds for Worldwide Security Protection – for every 30 days the report is delayed. The State Department is required by law to release the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, including Iran’s, on February 25 of this year.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s abysmal human rights record is inextricably tied to its nuclear ambitions. Like the Soviets in the 20th century, the mullahs not only violently oppress their own people but also seek to project that oppression against free peoples around the world, first and foremost the United States and our allies. They have vowed to destroy our very way of life,” said Sen. Cruz.
“When Ronald Reagan confronted the Soviet Union with the goal of ‘we win, they lose,’ he did not reject negotiations. But he also did not shy away from the Soviets’ appalling human rights record. He made exposing and denouncing their abuses, and expressing support for their victims, a cornerstone of his approach. We can do the same thing now, by making Iran’s human rights record a negotiating tool, not something to be swept under the rug. It is critical that the State Department release the 2014 report so that Congress can have access to the most recent data before we cast a vote on any nuclear deal.”
“The State Department’s annual reports on the human rights practices of other countries are a concrete demonstration of America’s global leadership,” said Sen. Kirk. “As co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Human Rights Caucus, I am deeply concerned that this year’s report is nearly four months overdue, and I urge the State Department to release the report immediately.”
View the legislation here.
Last week, in response to a letter Sens. Cruz, Kirk, and four of their colleagues sent the State Department inquiring about the report’s delay, the State Department sent Sen. Cruz a letter suggesting that scheduling conflicts had prohibited its release.
After receiving the letter, Sen. Cruz penned an op-ed in the Washington Times urging the State Department to release the report on Iran’s human rights practices before the Iran deal comes to Congress.