Congressman Frank Wolf urges Obama administration to make human rights a key component of dialogue with Iran
Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia expressed concern that seven Baha’i leaders who have been in prison for more than a year may face death on charges of “spreading of corruption on earth,” a capital offense in Iran. “Human dignity and freedom must not be made a sidebar as the Administration seeks to engage the Iranians,” Wolf said in his May 21, 2009 testimony. You can read the full statement here.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Mr. WOLF. Madam Speaker, May 14 marked the one-year anniversary of the imprisonment of the seven member national committee of the Iranian Baha’is. According to CNN reports, the seven Baha’i leaders may now face charges of "spreading of corruption on Earth" which carries the threat of the death penalty under Iran’s penal code. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recently released their 2009 report which recommends that the State Department designate Iran a country of particular concern due to its gross violations of religious freedom. Such violations include the execution of over 200 Baha’i leaders since 1979, the desecration of Baha’i cemeteries and places of worship, and the violent arrest and harassment of members of the Baha’i faith. As the Administration seeks diplomatic engagement with Iran, I urge them to make human rights and religious freedom an integral part of the dialogue. Human dignity and freedom must not be made a sidebar as the Administration seeks to engage the Iranians.