House bills target Iran nearly one year after Mahsa Amini’s death

September 13, 2023

The House passed bills along bipartisan lines Tuesday targeting Iran for its human rights record and its missile program.

The measures, which would impose sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi and others just ahesd of the one-year mark of the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody. She’d been arrested three days earlier by Iran’s morality police for not properly wearing a religious head covering called a hijab.

Amini’s death sparked mass protests across Iran that raised questions last year about the fate of the morality police. However, the regime appeared to have doubled down instead, putting journalists on trial for reporting Amini’s death  and executing protesters by hanging.

The protests represented one of the largest challenges to Iran’s theocratic regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amid its crackdown, 500 people have been killed and more than 22,000 people have been detained.

Ahead of the one-year mark of Amini’s death, Iran has been undertaking draconian crackdowns against potential unrest, including snap checkpoints, purges at universities and disruptions of the internet.

In the U.S. Congress, the House overwhelmingly passed three separate bills Tuesday. The first takes aim at Iran’s production and export of missiles. The second imposes sanctions on high-ranking Iranian officials—including the Ayatollah and the President—for “human rights abuses and support for terrorism.” The third condemns Iran’s government for the persecution of the Baha’i, a non-Muslim religious minority.

PHOTO: Mahsa Amini protest at Amir Kabir University in Iran, Sept 2022

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