Marco Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen Rip Iranian Regime
Posted: June 14, 2013 2:32 PM
Sunshine State News
By: Kevin Derby
Two Florida Republicans with international relations assignments in Congress offered their thoughts on Iran’s elections on Friday.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fl, serves on both the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Foreign Relations Committee. He offered harsh words for the Iranian regime on Friday.
“I stand with the Iranian people today as many Iranians go to the polls to vote in that country’s presidential election,” Rubio said. “Those participating in the election do not have the free and fair choice they deserve to select their country’s leaders, but we look forward to the day when they can exercise their fundamental rights and not be forced to choose between carefully vetted candidates in a stage managed process.
“We are facing a key moment in U.S.-Iran relations as Iran continues to expand its nuclear program and sow violence and terror throughout its region and beyond,” Rubio continued.
“But it is important to remember that in addition to its atrocious record abroad, the Iranian regime is absolutely brutal in its treatment of the Iranian people at home. Politically motivated violence and repression, including imprisonment without trial, are rampant. In Iran, there is no freedom of assembly, expression, or religion. We were unfortunately reminded of this four years ago when Iranians took to the streets in the hope of a better future, only to have their dreams quashed by beatings and gunfire, as much of the world, including the Obama administration, stood by and said and did nothing.
“I intend to work with my Senate colleagues to find ways to continue to highlight the Iranian regime’s treatment of its own people and use perhaps our greatest weapon, what President Reagan called ‘the will and moral courage of free men and women’ to work toward the day when the Iranian people will have a real opportunity to shape their country’s future,” Rubio said in conclusion.
A fellow Florida Republican--U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who chairs the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee--also ripped into the elections and the Iranian regime.
“Today’s election in Iran was anything but free, fair and transparent. Elections aren’t fair when half of the country’s population is automatically disqualified because they are the wrong gender," Ros-Lehtinen said. “They aren’t free when they are restricted to only the candidates that the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his Guardian Council hand pick. And they certainly aren’t transparent when the body in charge of selecting the candidates and certifying the election results is an unelected clerical body, unresponsive to the people of Iran and mostly handpicked by Khamenei himself. The Guardian Council is accountable to no one but the Ayatollah, and acts with no clearly defined set of guidelines or criteria for selecting the candidates.
“This whole thing was rigged from the get-go,” Ros-Lehtinen insisted. “Khamenei saw what happened in 2009, and fearing a repeat of the Green Revolution, rigged the process so that only candidates he favors could run. This election is about the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards cementing their control over the people of Iran. Sadly, that means that no matter who becomes the next leader, little will change for the people of Iran. The same economic, political and social impediments will continue to haunt the people of Iran and the international community will still be faced with the same obstacles as before the election – an Iran intent on being nuclear weapons capable and Tehran propping up Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria.”