Hoyer Statement on the Elections in Iran

For Immediate Release:

February 28, 2016


Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement today in response to the elections held in Iran on Friday:

"While some of the so-called 'moderates' appear to have defeated the hardliners in Friday's election in Iran, no matter what the results and no matter who wins, Iran will still primarily be controlled by an unelected, undemocratic, and theocratic elite.  This unelected elite, headed by Ayatollah Khamenei and his clerical cadre, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and by Iran’s intelligence-security apparatus, will likely continue its routine calls for the destruction of Israel, its funding of terrorism, and its work against regional peace and stability.  In this regard, these leaders have claimed to make payments to families of Palestinians who murder innocent Israelis, a warped policy that encourages violence and hatred.  Finally, regarding the elections themselves, an ideologically-driven screening process eliminated thousands of legitimate candidates and denied the Iranian people the full freedom of choice they deserve.

“Regardless of the outcome of this election, Iran’s leaders must fully abide by the obligations set out under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed to with the P5+1 nations.  The United States and our allies cannot trust Iran to do so – we must ensure their compliance through the strictest verification and enforcement regime possible, making it clear Iran will be held accountable for any violation.  At the same time, we will continue to enforce punishing sanctions and U.N. Security Council resolutions resulting from Iran’s continued pursuit of ballistic missile technology and its support for terror around the world.  

"We must not allow there to be any uncertainty in our resolve that might empower Iran’s hardliners to attempt to circumvent the JCPOA.  While we work to ensure the JCPOA functions as it should, we will also consider possible legislation to reauthorize and strengthen sanctions relating to Iran's support for terrorism, human rights violations, and destabilizing activities.  I will continue to monitor developments in Iran closely and urge the Administration to take every step possible to make our strong enforcement posture unambiguous."