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From the Desk of Congressman Gary Ackerman: June 26, 2009

Ackerman Statement on Iran Resolution

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued the following statement on the resolution approved by the House that supports “all Iranians who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law.” The measure, which passed 405 to 1, also “condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators, by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones.” It also “affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.”

Statement: “I want to express my appreciation to the chairman and to Mr. Pence for the resolution before us. I think it’s critical for the House to address the remarkable events that are taking place in Iran.

We are seeing a nation—an entire nation—rise up. What is happening in Iran is an inspiration to all of us who believe that there is such a thing as universal human rights.

We do not want—and we are not attempting—to choose Iran’s rulers. Who rules Iran is a question for the people of Iran. And as we expect all nations to respect our sovereignty, so too must we respect the sovereignty of other nations.

But we are not blind. And we must not be mute.

We have seen gunfire and truncheons deployed against peaceful protesters and marches. We have followed the wave of repression against activists, reporters, and all forms of communication. We know about the crackdown and arrests of Iranians who call for freedom and reform. We have watched mobs of thuggish enforcers terrorizing students and citizens in their dorms and homes.

But we have also watched the unbelievable, quiet courage of millions of Iranians marching, and we have watched their numbers growing every day. We have seen them insist on non-violence in the face of provocation and assault. And we have heard their impatient but persistent call for justice.

And this nation knows what that call for justice sounds like. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Bound up in the revolutionary documents of our founding, and in our nation’s unique role in the struggle for human freedom, is a special responsibility. We have an obligation that the resolution before us answers. We are all witnesses. And we are bound to support the courageous and decent people in Iran who are struggling for their rights and their freedom.  

This resolution is measured and careful, but meaningful. And it deserves the strong support of every member.”