Portman Cosponsors Resolution Calling for a Free and Fair Presidential Election in Iran
Washington, D.C. – In support of the Iranian people, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) cosponsored a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) calling on the Government of Iran to hold a free, fair, and open presidential election next month. The resolution highlights the fact that Iran’s Supreme Leader, who outranks the president, is not accountable to the Iranian people through elections, and that Iran’s government has a long history of abusing human rights and holding elections that are neither free nor fair.
“When the Iranian government conducts its election next week, they should know that the world is watching and is fully aware that their corrupt election is not a democratic process that reflects the will of the Iranian people,” Portman said. “As they make a mockery of free and fair elections, the regime continues to have an iron grip on the country and pursue the development of hostile weapons."
The resolution comes as Iran prepares to hold a presidential election on June 14. The country’s last presidential election was held in 2009 and was widely condemned inside Iran and throughout the world as neither free nor fair. The election provoked large-scale peaceful protests throughout the country, which the government responded to with intensified repression.
The upcoming presidential election has received further international scrutiny because of the vast, unchecked power the Supreme Leader of Iran possesses. The Supreme Leader is unelected, has the power to veto any decision made by Iran’s president or parliament and controls the country’s foreign and defense policy. Current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been in power since 1989 and has never been subject to any form of popular referendum.
The Senate resolution calls for an end to “arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of harassment against media professionals, human rights defenders and activists, and opposition figures, and releasing all individuals detained for exercising universally recognized human rights; lifting legislative restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and expression; and allowing the Internet to remain free and open and allowing domestic and international media to operate freely.” The resolution further calls on Iranian officials “to allow international election monitors to be present for the June 14, 2013, election.”