December 21, 2023

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Introduces Allyship Act to Better Support Peaceful Protestors in Iran

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) today introduced the Allyship Act to shift United States policy towards Iran in a direction that better supports peaceful protestors and their allies while holding the regime accountable.

Since September 2022, Iranians have been organizing and protesting to demand peaceful change in Iran. The Iranian regime's brutal response to these protests, marked by excessive force, arbitrary arrests, torture, and execution spree has left many individuals and families under economic, physical, and emotional duress.  Meanwhile United States policy has not yet caught up with the realities in Iran.  Sanctions designed to punish the regime often exacerbate the challenges faced by average Iranians seeking to provide for their families or organize against their government.  

The Allyship Act would pair new, focused sanctions on the worst abuses in the Iranian regime with new tools that permit Iranian Americans to communicate with and provide support to their loved ones in Iran, as well as provide Iranian protestors with the expanded Internet access and services they need to effectively organize.  In addition, it establishes mechanisms to improve the effectiveness, coordination, impact, and outcomes of programs that help Iranian people.

“Iranians are bravely fighting for their basic human rights.  The United States must update our Iran strategy to put the Iranian people at the center of our approach.  We need to relieve pressure on average Iranians while still holding the regime accountable,” said Congresswoman Lee. “I am introducing this bill on Yalda, the winter solstice, the point when daylight stops shrinking and begins expanding. My hope is this legislation would begin to open the light for Iranians and their families. I thank our partners in the Iranian American community such as IADC who brought these issues to our attention and consulted on the proposed solutions, and I urge my colleagues to support a more just, productive policy towards Iran.”

Click here to view the bill text.