US lawmakers had various reactions to the protests in Iran, ranging from strong support to direct criticism of the US administration's policy toward Tehran.
Protests in Iran continued over the death of Mahsa Amini and statements of support from bipartisan lawmakers are pouring in.
Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn showed her support for Iranian women, tweeting: "I stand with the brave women of Iran fighting back against their oppressive government.
Amini was arrested for allegedly breaking headscarf rules and died on Sept. 16. The Iranian police said she died of a heart attack and wasn't mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.
Iran has arrested more than 1,200 protesters, officials said Monday, in its lethal crackdown on 10 nights of unrest driven by outrage over Amini’s death.
At least 41 people have been killed as Iran has heavily deployed security forces against nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death.
Democratic Representative Katie Porter stated that Iran's morality police killed Amini, and now "the state is brutally cracking down on its own citizens protesting for their freedom. I stand in solidarity with the brave women and allies fighting for their rights."
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez considered that the Iranian regime's efforts to divert attention from what is happening at home by attacking Iraqi Kurdistan and organizing counter-demonstrations would not succeed.
Menendez, who chairs the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, said the "brave women and men" are flocking to the streets to protest despite internet cuts and violent repression by the security forces.
Several Republicans expressed their support for the protesters. However, most took advantage of the development to attack the US administration and its ongoing efforts to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.
Senator Tom Cotton told Fox News on Sunday that if "President Biden actually wanted to support the brave protesters in Iran, he would abandon his efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal that would give billions of dollars to a dictatorial regime with leaders who still chant, ‘death to America’."
Cotton accused the Biden administration of failing to support Iranian protesters for the same reason "Barack Obama did in the summer of 2009 during the Green Revolution protests: he is standing idly by (…) as he's trying to pursue this reckless nuclear deal."
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan responded to the accusations, denying that negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program will impact the administration's willingness and vehemence in "speaking out about what is happening on the streets of Iran."
During an interview with CBS, Sullivan asserted that the administration "has in fact taken tangible steps to sanction those morality police who caused the death of Mahsa Amini."
"We've taken steps to make it easier for Iranians to be able to get access to the internet and access to communications technologies that will allow them to talk to one another and to talk to the world. So, from our perspective, we will do all we can to support the brave people, the brave women of Iran," he explained.
Sullivan said the goal of the negotiations was to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, stressing: "We are determined to succeed in that effort."
However, this was not enough for the critics, who are keen on ensuring the administration does not lift sanctions imposed on Iran.
In their latest attempts, Republicans presented a bill preventing the administration from lifting sanctions on Iran until the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that Tehran did not support any attempts or activities to kill current or former US citizens or officials or any Iranians living in the United States.
Senator Joni Ernst introduced the bill, noting that it is "hard to fathom that, after countless attacks on Americans, and multiple confirmed plots against US officials, the Biden administration continues to cozy up to Iran in hopes of a mythical, so-called nuclear deal."