Rubio calls for sanctions on Iran human rights violators

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Thursday that would impose sanctions against Iranian leaders who violate human rights.

“The U.S. should strongly support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, and stand against ongoing systemic human rights violations by the Iranian regime,” Rubio said. “This legislation would take significant steps to require President Obama to hold Iranian leaders and individuals accountable for all human rights violations they have directed.”

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S. 2585, the Iran Human Rights Accountability Act, would designate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and other top Iranian leaders as human rights violators. It also freezes their assets and bans them from using travel visas.

This weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry will join negotiations on a final nuclear agreement with Iran. The United States is trying to get Iran to turn over nuclear weapons material in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. The agreement deadline is July 20.

“While we continue to focus on disarming Iran’s dangerous nuclear program, we cannot forget that Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism that persecutes their own citizens,” Kirk said. “It’s time to hold Iranian officials accountable for their blatant violation of basic human rights.”

Their bill would also create a “Special Coordinator on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran” to assist in establishing human rights programs.