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پربیننده؛ سال گذشته

DAY 2: SOUTHERN AZERBAIJAN ADVOCACY MEETINGS, WASHINGTON D.C

Southern Azerbaijan alliance

Mr. Ben Kochman

Legislative Aide to Senator Pat Toomey

U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania

Senator Pat Toomey belongs to the Republican Party. He has supported tough sanctions on Iran with regards to its nuclear program. In his recent statement on the nuclear agreement with Iran, he said that “the risks of this deal are far greater than the likely benefits.” He is particularly concerned about the weaponization of the nuclear program and the development of delivery systems. He has signed a letter to President Obama urging a sense of urgency with regards to Iran’s nuclear program, while also deeply sympathizing with the Iranian people, who have suffered under the Khamenei regime. The letter also includes: “Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end”.

Senator Pat Tommey cosponsored a bipartisan resolution urging Iran to release those imprisoned solely because of their religion. It even calls upon the President to impose sanctions for serious human rights violations in Iran, including minority rights.

Senator Toomey has co-sponsored legislation in support of the security of Israel to include multiple bill strengthening sanctions against Iran. Deeply concerned about the situation in Syria he also

cosponsored a bill to sanction the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Notes from the meeting,

Mr Kochman started the meeting by explaining how important these meetings are for there understanding of what is happening in Iran. After we had presented our information Mr Kochmans first question was, "how did the Iranian government let you come here and give us this information?" Mr. Kochman continued by asking what the punishment are for the political activists of Southern Azerbaijan in Iran. He was also interested in knowing if the situation for the political activists had become better or worst since Ruhani came to power. We answered by refereeing to the increasing of execution since Ruhani came to power. Mr. Kochman asked if we believed that more sanctions against Iran would help our movement or if we believed that diplomacy would be the better choice for the Southern Azerbaijan national movement. Mr. Bilgin explained that even though the sanctions effect the economy of the people of Southern Azerbaijan  it is necessary to weaken the Iranian government in order to achieve the democracy, and self-determination for all nation of Iran.

Ms. Grace Smitham

Legislative Aide to U.S. Senator John Cornyn

US Senator for Texas

Senator John Cornyn belongs to the Republican Party. U.S. Senator John Cornyn introduced – along

with Senator Sam Brownback – legislation to support Iranian opposition groups to remove the current government in Tehran. The aim of the legislation is to support Iranian people and provide

resources needed to establish a democratic system in Iran. With regards to the legislation, Senator

Cornyn said: “this legislation will send a clear signal to the Iranian people that we support their efforts to end the current tyrannical regime, which fails to represent their ideals and democratic aspirations. For too long, the voices of forward-looking, freedom-loving Iranians have been muted through the regime’s violence and intimidation. This regime’s human rights abuses, relentless quest for nuclear weapons, and support for terrorism – including against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – must not be tolerated any longer. It continues to destabilize the Middle East and threaten international peace.”

The bill states that U.S. policy towards Iran should be: to fully and publicly support efforts of the Iranian people to oppose and remove the current regime and transition to a freely elected, open, and democratic government in Iran; to deny the current regime the ability to continue to oppress the people of Iran. The bill authorizes the President to support a transition to democracy in Iran by providing non-military assistance to Iranian democratic opposition organizations, as well as humanitarian assistance to victims of the current regime. Senator Cornyn also supported the Iranian demonstrators against Iranian government in 2009.

He supports human rights abroad, not only in Iran, but other states, like Vietnam. For Senator

Cornyn, basic civil, religious, and political liberties must be ensured. If they are abused, the U.S

should take immediate and targeted action. In 2007, he supported the extension of trade restriction

on Burma to promote democracy.

Notes from the meeting,

Ms. Smitham explaind that the Texas senator is very sceptical to any reliefs in sanctions towards Iran. The senator is demanding to see permeant positive change on the human right issue in Iran in order to be willing to talk about less sanctions. She was very sorry that she had not jet been informed about the situation of Southern Azerbaijan but assured us that she and senator Corney

would have the situation of Southern Azerbaijan and Lake Urmiye on there radar.

Ms. Lauren Overman

Foreign Policy Legislative Advisor to Senator Patty Murray

U.S. Senator for Washington

Senator Patty Murray belongs to the Democratic Party. She has signed a letter to President Obama, which reiterates the four strategic elements regarding the nuclear issue: “(1) an explicit and continuing message that we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, (2) a sincere demonstration of openness to negotiations by Iran, (3) the maintenance and toughening of

sanctions, and (4) a convincing threat of the use of force.”

She is a strong supporter of human rights globally, but particularly women’s rights. She has also been instrumental in introducing legislation to significantly improve the nation's ability to implement

global development assistance programs.

Notes from the meeting,

Ms. Overman was interested in knowing how the situation was for the Azerbaijani women. She understood that the situation for minority women were much harder than the persian women in Iran because of the fact that these individuals actually were facing double oppression. We explained that unfortunately she and senator Murray were right in that matter and that the women of Southern Azerbaijan are living under double and maybe even three times more oppression and that the situation is getting worse for every year.

Mr. Jonathan Morgenstein

Foreign Policy Staffer to Senator Tammy Baldwin U.S. Senator for Wisconsin

Senator Tammy Baldwin belongs to the Democratic Party. She voted for tough sanctions against Iran. Her website states she is fighting to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

Since she first entered Congress in 1999, Senator Baldwin has consistently voted to express solidarity with Israel. She has voted 46 times to extend military and economic aid for Israel. In 2011, Baldwin voted to ask the President to impose sanctions on those doing business with the Central Bank of Iran, if it is determined the bank is linked to the Iranian weapons program, to provide sanctions for those who help to transfer components of weapons of mass destruction or who sell conventional military goods and technology to Iran, and to expand the list of activities that could trigger sanctions.

Baldwin voted to condemn Iran for human rights violations, to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, to prohibit the issuance of drilling lease to anyone in violation of sanctions on Iran, and to categorize any commercial activity with Iran’soil and natural gas sectors as a sanctionable offense.

Notes from the meeting,

It was important for Mr. Morgenstein to point out that bought he and senator Baldwin struggles for human rights and that they condemns all acts of oppression. Mr. Morgenstein promised to share the information that was given to him with the senator at once and that Lake Urmiye would be a priority.

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