IADC Encourage Members of Congress to Amend or Oppose H.R. 5826

Update 10/19/2023

At the mark up meeting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-D) introduced an amendment to section of the bill, which was supported by several other committee members but during the roll call, it failed to pass.

Please contact your Representatives and encourage them to OPPOSE the bill.  You can find your representative by entering your address here.

Issued 10/17/2023

The Iranian American Democrats of California (IADC) is concerned by parts of the newly introduced H.R. 5826, the “No Paydays for Hostage-Takers Act”, bill by Representatives Joe Wilson (R-SC), House Foreign Affairs Chairman of the MENA and Central Asia Subcommittee, and Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. While the $6B funds, that were unfrozen as part of a prisoner exchange with the Islamic regime occupying Iran, has been frozen again based on an agreement made between the US and Qatar, we support the call for transparency and reporting regarding all frozen assets of Iran whether it is held restricted at a bank in Qatar or elsewhere. However the bill includes provisions that grant the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to impose travel restrictions to Iran for US Passport holders.

While we acknowledge and support the mission of accountability and action against the Iranian regime, particularly in response to its grievous abuses such as hostage taking, we firmly believe that the answer cannot be found in unilateral actions that violate the most fundamental of human rights.

We believe this bill encroaches upon the civil liberties of Iranian Americans who do not possess an Iranian passport which will prevent them from traveling to Iran to see their families, and also an infringement on the right to freedom of movement, as outlined in Article 13 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

IADC strongly condemns this attempt to abuse the human rights of our community and those who would need to travel to Iran for humanitarian needs or educational exchange. We call upon all members of Congress, with a special plea to the California delegation, to either amend section 9 or oppose this bill.

We believe that a more comprehensive and thoughtful approach is required to address the issues at hand, one that upholds the principles of human rights, inclusivity, and diplomacy. It is our hope that Congress will work together to find a more balanced and just solution that respects the rights of all individuals, including Iranian Americans, while pursuing accountability for the actions of the Islamic regime.  Safeguarding civil liberties and human rights should remain at the core of any legislative endeavor, and we stand united in our commitment to defending these principles  for all members of our community and beyond.