Republicans in the Senate present legislation to impose sanctions on Iran.

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On Friday, a group of 17 Senate Republicans presented legislation to penalise Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ebrahim Raisi, who was elected president in June.

The bill requests that President Joe Biden penalise the two in line with the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

“The Biden administration has rushed to dismantle sanctions on the Iranian regime and is looking to remove what’s left of American pressure,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led the legislation, said in a statement. “They have publicly committed to revoking Trump-era sanctions, including sanctions against Ayatollah Khamenei and Iran’s President-elect.”

Cruz went on to say that Khamenei “uses corruption, violence, and confiscation to amass wealth stolen from the Iranian people” and that “President-elect Raisi is responsible for the butchering of tens of thousands of innocent Iranians. They should both be subject to the full force of American sanctions.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) said that “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and new President Ebrahim Raisi  both have atrocious human rights records,” saying “they’ve presided over the executions of thousands of political prisoners and the mass arrests of journalists, lawyers and American citizens. Instead of considering lifting sanctions on these terrible human rights abusers, the United States must take a stand against the corrupt and dangerous regime in Iran. Sanctioning two of the world’s biggest human rights offenders is a good place to start.”

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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) said that America must hold Iranian leaders accountable “for decades of violence, terrorism and human rights abuses, and Ayatollah Khamenei and Ebrahim Raisi should be sanctioned under the Global Magnistky Act.”

He added that “as the Iranian regime cracks down on Iranians demanding basic freedoms, now is not the time for America to ease pressure on despots who have systematically oppressed their own people and jeopardized the security of the rest of the world.”

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, named after tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in a Moscow prison in 2009, authorizes the US government to sanction individuals responsible for human rights abuses and corruption.

According to the US State Department, since the inception of the Global Magnitsky Program in 2017, some 243 individuals and entities from 28 countries have been designated under the Global Magnitsky authorities for involvement in corruption or serious human rights abuse.

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