A group of Democratic and Republican senators introduced a bill aimed at ending Iran’s “campaign of terror to silence dissidents abroad.”
US Senators Pat Toomey and Ben Cardin held a press conference on Thursday to unveil the Masih Alinejad Harassment and Unlawful Targeting (HUNT) Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at holding the Iranian regime responsible for its efforts to silence dissidents by imposing new mandatory sanctions.
The press conference was also attended by Iranian American journalist and human rights activist Masih Alinejad, who inspired the senators’ legislation. In July 2021, Federal prosecutors charged Iranian agents with conspiring to kidnap Alinejad from her home in Brooklyn.
According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, the Masih Alinejad HUNT Act will hold Tehran accountable and prevent future targeting against critics of the regime by “imposing mandatory sanctions against those engaging in acts of transnational repression on behalf of Iranian authorities, and requiring the State Department to regularly report on the state of human rights and the rule of law inside Iran.”
The proposed bill calls on the administration of US President Joe Biden to submit a detailed report to Congress on the Iranian regime’s efforts to chase its opponents inside and outside Iran, in addition to identifying the foreign persons who assist Iran in these efforts with the aim of imposing sanctions on them.
The bill specifically mentions the organizations of “Ansar Hezbollah” and “Basij”, the tactical arm of the IRGC, and calls for imposing mandatory sanctions on agents of the Iranian regime, who are knowingly involved in surveillance, harassment, kidnapping, or assassination of Iranian or US citizens who are critics of the Iranian regime.
While the project is still in its initial stages, it highlights the Congress’ push for strict application of the sanctions that are stipulated in US law, which members of Congress accuse the US administration of overlooking.