Senators send letter to Secretary of State Kerry
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressing strong concern over the ongoing postponement of the State Department's Iran Human Rights Report.
"States that routinely oppress their own citizens as a method of survival lack legitimacy and pose security threats to their neighbors," the senators wrote. "Accordingly, the question of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its human rights record are inextricably intertwined."
Read the full text of the letter here and below:
May 12, 2015
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry:
We write to express strong concern over the ongoing postponement of the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, in particular the Iran Human Rights Report. As you are aware, the Department of State is required by law to issue this report every year in a timely manner. Yet after missing the February 25, 2015 deadline, the Department of State announced on April 16th that there would be a further delay. More than two weeks have now passed, and we still have no indication of when this critical document will be available.
In the context of the Obama Administration's ongoing negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran over that country's nuclear program, we believe it is imperative this report be published as quickly as possible. Although we appreciate your guarantee that human rights sanctions will be exempt from a list of phased-out sanctions in any final deal with Iran, we are concerned the Obama Administration is failing to recognize the inherent danger of engaging in nuclear negotiations with this particular regime given their appalling record on human rights. That is why we are so eager for this report as it would, for example, be of particular interest to see if the disturbing increase in human rights abuses under President Hasan Rouhani is a continuing trend over the last twelve months.
Despite your insistence that human rights, including the ongoing detention of American citizens Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian as well as the lack of information on Robert Levinson, are marginal to your negotiations, we strongly believe we cannot treat this issue in isolation from Iran's potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon. The history of the twentieth century elucidates a dangerous axis between internal suppression of human rights and external aggression. States that routinely oppress their own citizens as a method of survival lack legitimacy and pose security threats to their neighbors. Accordingly, the question of Iran's nuclear ambitions and its human rights record are inextricably intertwined.
Congress therefore expects a prompt release of the report. Indeed, it would be unreasonable to expect Congress to do its proper due diligence on any deal reached with Iran without access to this information. Given the June 30, 2015 deadline for negotiations with Iran, we ask that the report be published no later than May 15, 2015. In the event that this deadline cannot be met we ask that you provide a thorough explanation for the delay by that date.
We look forward to your timely response.
Ted Cruz Mike Enzi Johnny Isakson Mark Kirk David Perdue Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator U.S. Senator U.S. Senator U.S. Senator U.S. Senator U.S. Senator
cc: The Honorable Tom Malinowski
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
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