Maloney Joins Iran180, Elected Officials in Calling for Iran to Do an ABout-face on Nuclear Weapons and Human RIghts Abuses

Sep 20, 2010
Press Release
New York, NY – At a rally this morning organized by Iran180 in Ralph Bunche Park facing the United Nations, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) issued the following statement:

“I am delighted to join so many of my colleagues in government and so many human rights activists in sending a strong message to Iran.  Today, we call on Iran to do a 180 – to stop developing nuclear weapons, stop the human rights abuses, and start investing in its people.  Iran's policies have been bad for Iranians bad for the region, and bad for the world.
“On Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking at the United Nations – his very presence in the building makes a mockery of everything the United Nations stands for.  This is a man who has threatened his neighbors, sent weapons to terrorists and terrorized tens of thousands of his own people.  And, he has made clear that he is determined to develop nuclear weapons.

“Iran's people have been voting with their feet.  The International Monetary Fund reports that Iran ranks first in the world in brain drain, with 25% of its college educated citizens living abroad.  And it is clear that those who remain in Iran are suffering under the rogue regime that rules them.  Its economy is in a shambles, unemployment and inflation are through the roof, and human rights are at an all time low.

“We were all heartened last summer when thousands of Iranians took to the street to demand that their votes would be counted.  And we hoped that their protests would usher in a new era of freedom and openness.  Instead, Iran responded by rounding up the protesters, shutting down social-networking sites, blocking cell phones and terrorizing its people.

“At the same time, it continued ramping up its nuclear program.  The world cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. A nuclear Iran will be a threat to every country in the Middle East.  And every country in the region will be rushing to develop its own nuclear capabilities.

“I am proud that Congress passed tough new sanctions on Iran this summer.  And I am pleased that the United Nations did so as well – making clear that the world opposes Iran's nuclear ambitions.

“Iran has been defiant – it has hidden its nuclear facilities, it has obstructed inspections even at the facilities it does acknowledge and it has ordered UN inspectors out of the country – making clear that we need to be even tougher.

“I am pleased to have joined Rep. Ron Klein and many of my colleagues in co-sponsoring H.R.6043, the Gulf Security and Iran Sanctions Enforcement Act.  By extending sanctions to offshore oil and gas leasing, we will limit Iran's ability to gain revenue through joint ventures, investments and partnerships with foreign entities.  And we need to make sure the sanctions that we have in place are being implemented.

“I am pleased that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has already held the first of what should be many hearings on the effectiveness of the sanctions.

“Despite international pressure, the numbers from the IAEA are frightening:  Iran has 2.8 tons of low enriched uranium.  It has enriched 50 pounds to 20% purification levels.  And it is making progress toward the 90% purification needed for weapons grade uranium.  It is clear that they are building underground facilities to hide their activities from view.  And the IAEA has no way of knowing how much progress is being made in the hidden facilities.  Two weeks ago, the head of the IAEA said that he could not confirm that all of Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful, because of Iran's poor cooperation.
 
“Our message today is simple:  It's not too late – Iran can still pull itself back from the brink. 

“It can do a 180. 

“It can end the repression of its people.  It can end its censorship of public discourse.  It can grant equality to women. It can end discrimination religious minorities and gays.  And it can cooperate with the IAEA and dismantle its nuclear weapons program.  I'm proud to join Iran 180 in calling on Iran to change.”

Background:

Iran180 is a movement of people and organizations who have come together to demand that Iran do a 180 on their pursuit of nuclear weapons and the treatment of their citizens.  Participating organizations include 100 Hispanic Women, Alliance of Iranian Women, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League – NY Region, Chinese Community Relations Council, COMPAS, Iran Press News, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish Labor Committee, Korean American Community Empowerment Council, NAACP New York, New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, Planet Iran, Progressive American-Iranian Committee, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW, Turkish American Community of New York, United Haitian American Society, and UJA – Federation of New York.