House Passes Resolution Supporting Iranian Protesters

Posted June 19, 2009 at 12:19pm

The House approved a resolution to express support for Iran’s pro-democracy protesters on a nearly unanimous vote Friday.

The resolution, which passed 405-1, expressed support for the Iranian protesters who have been subject to violence by government forces since the June 12 presidential election.

It also condemns the government suppression of electronic communication such as cell phones and affirms “the universality of individual rights.—

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) voted against the measure. Reps. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) voted present.

Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) sponsored the measure, which was cleared for a vote Thursday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

President Barack Obama this week said he was troubled by the violence, telling CNBC on Tuesday that he hoped “the regime responds not with violence, but with a recognition that the universal principles of peaceful expression and democracy are ones that should be affirmed.—

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) introduced the legislation in the Senate on Friday morning.

Speaking at a press conference following the vote, Pence applauded the “moral courage— of the supporters of Mir Hussein Moussavi and said it was important that the Iranian people know that Americans are behind them.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated Moussavi in an election that many international observers worry was illegitimate.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sided with Ahmadinejad on Friday and called for the hundreds of thousands of protesters to stop their demonstrations.

Berman cautioned against United States involvement in the contest.

“It is not for us to decide who should run Iran, much less determine the real winner of the June 12th election,— Berman said on the House floor this morning. “But we must reaffirm our strong belief that the Iranian people have a fundamental right to express their views about the future of their country freely and without intimidation.—