SEATTLE, Washington — On January 28, 2020, the House passed H.Res.752: Supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests and for other purposes. As the title suggests, the resolution is intended to express Congress’ support of the Iranian peoples’ right to free expression. It also condemns the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses within Iran and its destabilizing activities outside of its borders.
Iran’s Human Rights Violations
Beginning on Nov. 15, 2019, widespread protests erupted in more than 100 cities throughout Iran over the government’s announcement of an increase in fuel prices and other economic grievances. According to Human Rights Watch, the protests morphed into “broader popular discontent with the government’s repression and perceived corruption.” In response, the Iranian regime almost entirely cut off internet access from November 15 to 19.
The government’s repression of the protests caused the deaths of hundreds of people, including children, though it is difficult to determine the exact amount of deaths given the internet shutdown. According to a member of Iran’s parliament, 7,000 people were arrested. The regime has also violated people’s right to speech as Iranian citizens have been ordered not to speak to the media about the protests for fear of retaliation.
House Resolution 752
In the wake of these protests and the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown of the uprisings, Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-22] introduced H.Res.752. The bill supports the Iranian people’s right to protest and assembly and condemns the government’s suppression of those rights.
The resolution calls on democratic governments around the world to support the right to engage in peaceful protests and live in a free society. It “demands that the Iranian regime abide[s]by its international obligations with respect to human rights and civil liberties, including freedoms of assembly, speech, and press.” H.Res.752 urges the president to call for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Human Rights Council to establish a way to monitor the Iranian government’s human rights violations.
Furthermore, H.Res.752 encourages the Trump administration to help provide free, uninterrupted internet access to the Iranian people, “including by broadening General License D–1.” It strongly advises internet companies to reject requests from the Iranian regime to cut off the people’s access to social media. Lastly, the resolution recommends that the President, Secretary of State and the entire international community include discussion of Iran’s human rights violations in any bilateral or multilateral talks with or about Iran.
Status of the Resolution
The resolution, which has the bilateral support of 31 cosponsors (19D, 12R), was assigned to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. On Dec. 18, the committee ordered that a report of the resolution be submitted to the full chamber; only 25 percent of bills are reported out of committee. H.Res.752 was then on the House schedule on Jan. 24. Four days later, the House agreed to it by a voice vote.
– Sarah Frazer