S 879

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 879

To promote human rights and democracy in Iran.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 4, 2011

Mr. KIRK (for himself, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, and Mr. CORNYN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


A BILL

To promote human rights and democracy in Iran.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Iran Human Rights and Democracy Promotion Act of 2011'.

    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Declaration of policy.

      Sec. 3. Definitions.

      Sec. 4. Mandatory investigations to identify persons who are responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses committed against citizens of Iran or their family members after the June 12, 2009, elections in Iran.

      Sec. 5. Imposition of sanctions with respect to the transfer of goods or technologies to Iran that may be used to commit human rights abuses.

      Sec. 6. Iran Freedom Support Act reauthorization.

      Sec. 7. Special representative on human rights and democracy in Iran.

      Sec. 8. Sense of Congress on political prisoners.

      Sec. 9. Comprehensive strategy to promote Internet freedom and access to information in Iran.

SEC. 2. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

    (a) Finding- Congress finds that the interests of the United States and international peace are threatened by the ongoing and destabilizing actions of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including its massive, systematic, and extraordinary violations of the human rights of its own citizens.

    (b) Declaration of Policy- It shall be the policy of the United States--

      (1) to deny the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran the ability to continue to oppress the people of Iran and to use violence and executions against pro-democracy protestors and regime opponents;

      (2) to fully and publicly support efforts made by the people of Iran to promote the establishment of basic freedom, which build the foundation for the emergence of a freely elected, open, and democratic political system;

      (3) to help the Iranian people produce, access, and share information freely and safely via the Internet and through other media; and

      (4) to defeat all attempts by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to jam or otherwise deny international satellite broadcast signals.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) ADMITTED; ALIEN- The terms `admitted' and `alien' have the meanings given those terms in section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)).

      (2) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES- The term `appropriate congressional committees' means--

        (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate; and

        (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives.

      (3) UNITED STATES PERSON- The term `United States person' has the meaning given that term in section 101(10) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8511(10)).

SEC. 4. MANDATORY INVESTIGATIONS TO IDENTIFY PERSONS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OR COMPLICIT IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES COMMITTED AGAINST CITIZENS OF IRAN OR THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS AFTER THE JUNE 12, 2009, ELECTIONS IN IRAN.

    (a) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as the head of state, is responsible for ordering, controlling, and otherwise directing the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Iran on or after June 12, 2009.

    (b) Mandatory Investigations- Section 105 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8514) is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a), by striking `subsection (b)' and inserting `subsection (b)(2)'; and

      (2) in subsection (b)--

        (A) in the subsection heading, by striking `List' and inserting `Identification';

        (B) by striking paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) and inserting the following:

      `(1) INVESTIGATIONS; DETERMINATIONS-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Upon receiving credible information that a person may be a person described in subparagraph (B), the President shall initiate an investigation and, not later than 180 days after initiating the investigation, make a determination with respect to whether the person is a person described in subparagraph (B).

        `(B) PERSON DESCRIBED- A person described in this subparagraph is a person that--

          `(i) is an official of the Government of Iran or is acting on behalf of that Government (including a member of a paramilitary organization such as Ansar-e-Hezbollah and Basij-e Mostaz'afin); and

          `(ii) is responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against citizens of Iran or their family members on or after June 12, 2009, regardless of whether such abuses occurred in Iran.

      `(2) LIST-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of each person the President determines is a person described in paragraph (1)(B)--

          `(i) not later than 210 days after the date of the enactment of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Promotion Act of 2011, and every 180 days thereafter; and

          `(ii) as new information becomes available.

        `(B) FORM OF REPORT; PUBLIC AVAILABILITY-

          `(i) FORM- The list required by subparagraph (A) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

          `(ii) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The unclassified portion of the list required by subparagraph (A) shall be made available to the public and posted on the Web sites of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State.';

        (C) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3); and

        (D) in paragraph (3), as redesignated, by striking `In preparing the list required by paragraph (1)' and inserting `For purposes of initiating investigations and making determinations under paragraph (1)'.

SEC. 5. IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSFER OF GOODS OR TECHNOLOGIES TO IRAN THAT MAY BE USED TO COMMIT HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.

    (a) Investigations; Determinations-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (3), upon receiving credible information that a person may have engaged in an activity described in paragraph (2), the President shall initiate an investigation and, not later than 180 days after initiating the investigation, make a determination with respect to whether that person engaged in that activity.

      (2) ACTIVITY DESCRIBED-

        (A) IN GENERAL- A person engages in an activity described in this subparagraph if the person, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act--

          (i) transfers, or facilitates the transfer of, goods or technologies described in subparagraph (C) to Iran; or

          (ii) provides services with respect to goods or technologies described in subparagraph (C) after such goods or technologies are transferred to Iran.

        (B) APPLICABILITY TO CONTRACTS AND OTHER AGREEMENTS- A person engages in an activity described in subparagraph (A) without regard to whether the activity is carried out pursuant to a contract or other agreement entered into before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

        (C) GOODS OR TECHNOLOGIES DESCRIBED- Goods or technologies described in this subparagraph are--

          (i) firearms or ammunition (as those terms are defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code), accessories for firearms, rubber bullets, clubs, batons, police sticks, mace, stun grenades, tasers or other electroshock weapons, tear gas, water cannons, motorcycles, or surveillance technology;

          (ii) sensitive technology (as defined in section 106(c) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8515(c)); and

          (iii) other goods or technologies that the President determines may be used by the Government of Iran to commit human rights abuses against the people of Iran.

      (3) SPECIAL RULE TO ALLOW FOR TERMINATION OF SANCTIONABLE ACTIVITY- The President shall not be required to initiate an investigation, and may terminate an investigation, under this subsection if the President certifies in writing to the appropriate congressional committees that--

        (A) the person whose activity was the basis for the investigation is no longer engaging in the activity or has taken significant verifiable steps toward stopping the activity; and

        (B) the President has received reliable assurances that the person will not knowingly engage in an activity described in paragraph (2) in the future.

    (b) List-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of each person the President determines has engaged in an activity described in subsection (a)(2)--

        (A) not later than 210 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter; and

        (B) as new information becomes available.

      (2) FORM OF LIST- The list required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

    (c) Asset Freeze- The President shall freeze and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of a person on the list required by subsection (b) if such property and interests in property are in the United States, come within the United States, or are or come within the possession or control of a United States person.

    (d) Waiver Authority- The President may waive the application of this section with respect to a person if the President--

      (1) determines that such a waiver is in the national interest of the United States; and

      (2) submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing the reasons for the waiver.

    (e) Termination- The provisions of this section shall terminate on the date described in section 105(d) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8514(d)).

SEC. 6. IRAN FREEDOM SUPPORT ACT REAUTHORIZATION.

    (a) Additional Forms of Assistance- Section 302(a)(1) of the Iran Freedom Support Act (Public Law 109-293; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note) is amended by adding at the end the following: `Such assistance may also include the award of grants and the formation of public-private partnerships to facilitate or subsidize the enrollment in or directly provide Internet-based Farsi- or English-language higher education courses for people in Iran denied access to higher education solely on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, belief, or lifestyle.'.

    (b) Use of Near East Regional Democracy Funds- Section 302(c)(1) of such Act is amended by striking `and the Human Rights and Democracy Fund' and inserting `the Human Rights and Democracy Fund, and the Near East Regional Democracy program'.

    (c) Reauthorization- Section 302(f) of such Act is amended by striking `2011' and inserting `2016'.

SEC. 7. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN IRAN.

    (a) Appointment- The President shall appoint a Special Representative on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran (in this Act referred to as the `Special Representative') within the Department of State.

    (b) Qualifications- The Special Representative should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of human rights and democracy promotion who shall have the rank of ambassador and shall hold the office at the pleasure of the President.

    (c) Duties- The Special Representative shall carry out the following duties:

      (1) Coordinate United States Government-wide activities that promote human rights, democracy, political freedom, and religious freedom inside Iran.

      (2) Coordinate United States Government-wide activities that promote human rights, political freedom, and religious freedom for Iranian refugees and asylees living outside Iran.

      (3) Ensure the comprehensive investigation and designation of Iranian human rights abusers in accordance with section 105 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2011 (22 U.S.C. 8514).

      (4) Coordinate the documentation and publicity of political dissidents and cases of human rights abuse inside Iran.

      (5) Coordinate multilateral efforts to build international support for the promotion of human rights, democracy, political freedom, and religious freedom in Iran, including broadcasting, Internet access, and dissemination of information.

      (6) Encourage the United Nations, multilateral organizations, and human rights nongovernmental organizations to more robustly investigate and report on human rights abuses in Iran.

      (7) Encourage foreign governments to downgrade or sever diplomatic relations with the Government of Iran, enact economic sanctions, and assist Iranian dissidents in response to the Government of Iran's continued violations of human rights.

      (8) Encourage foreign governments to expel the Islamic Republic of Iran from international forums and organizations with a human rights component, including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the International Labour Organisation.

      (9) Coordinate all programs funded under the Iran Freedom Support Act (Public Law 109-293; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note).

    (d) Authority-

      (1) COORDINATION OF ACTIVITIES- The Special Representative shall coordinate all activities related to Iran carried out by the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State, the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

      (2) COORDINATION OF USE OF FUNDS- The Special Representative shall coordinate and oversee the obligation and expenditure of funds related to human rights, democracy, Internet freedom, and broadcasting activities in Iran, including funds made available for such purposes to the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the Broader Middle East, and North Africa Initiative, the Human Rights and Democracy Fund, and Near Eastern Regional Democracy.

    (e) Diplomatic Representation- Subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, the Special Representative is authorized to represent the United States in matters and cases relevant to the promotion of human rights, democracy, political freedom, and religious freedom in Iran in--

      (1) contacts with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, and specialized agencies of the United Nations, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international organizations of which the United States is a member; and

      (2) multilateral conferences and meetings relevant to the promotion of human rights, democracy, political freedom, and religious freedom in Iran.

    (f) Consultations- The Special Representative shall consult with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, unions, multilateral organizations and institutions as the Special Representative considers appropriate to fulfill the purposes of this Act.

    (g) Funding- Of prior year funds made available for `Near East Regional Democracy', the Secretary of State shall provide to the Special Representative such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2012 for the hiring of staff, for the conduct of investigations, and for necessary travel to carry out the provisions of this Act.

SEC. 8. SENSE OF CONGRESS ON POLITICAL PRISONERS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--

      (1) the Secretary of State should support efforts to research and catalogue prisoners of conscience and cases of human rights abuses inside Iran;

      (2) the United States Government should offer political asylum in the United States to such political prisoners if requested, and offer to assist, through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the relocation of such political prisoners to other countries if requested, as appropriate and with due consideration for United States national security interests;

      (3) the Special Representative for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran and all representatives of the United States Government should publicly call for the release of Iranian dissidents by name and raise individual cases of Iranian dissidents and prisoners of conscience as appropriate; and

      (4) the Special Representative for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran should be included in all diplomatic meetings conducted with representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

SEC. 9. COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY TO PROMOTE INTERNET FREEDOM AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN IRAN.

    Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President, in coordination with the Special Representative on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Appropriations and Foreign Relations of the Senate a comprehensive strategy developed in consultation with the Department of State, other Federal agencies, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and nongovernmental organizations, including current implementers and unions, as appropriate, to--

      (1) help the people of Iran produce, access, and share information freely and safely via the Internet, including in Farsi and regional languages;

      (2) support the development of counter-censorship technologies that enable the citizens of Iran to undertake Internet activities without interference from their government;

      (3) increase the capabilities and availability of secure mobile communications among human rights and democracy activists in Iran;

      (4) provide resources for digital safety training for media, unions, and academic and civil society organizations in Iran;

      (5) increase the amount of accurate Internet content in local languages in Iran;

      (6) increase emergency resources for the most vulnerable human rights advocates seeking to organize, share information, and support human rights in Iran;

      (7) expand surrogate radio, television, live stream, and social network communications inside Iran and improve Voice of America's Persian News Network and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda to provide 24/7 hourly live news update and breaking news coverage capability;

      (8) expand activities to safely assist and train human rights, civil society, and union activists in Iran to operate effectively and securely;

      (9) defeat all attempts by the Government of Iran to jam or otherwise deny international satellite broadcasting signals; and

      (10) expand worldwide United States embassy and consulate programming for and outreach to Iranian dissident communities.

END