US bill takes aim at Iranian officials and their children
Iranian officials and their families may be banned from entering the US on human rights grounds under a new bill proposed in Congress on Monday. The legislation targets a wide cross-section of senior Iranian officials, including those in the supreme leader’s office, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and law enforcement.
The Revoking Entry Granted to Iranian Mullahs and Elites (REGIME) Act would require the Secretary of State to review whether any Iranian officials who can be credibly linked to a “gross violation of human rights” or “significant corruption” have secured or applied for US visas.
Those found to be in possession of such visas, along with their family members, will have them revoked, and any applications in process will be spiked.
The bill comes after protests erupted in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s so-called 'morality police.'
“In light of the actions of the regime it is particularly unbelievable that Iranian officials and family members are being given visas to come to the US to enjoy the very liberties their own citizens can only imagine,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) told al-Monitor, which first reported on the bill.
However, critics of the legislation have questioned whether it is fair to punish the children of officials, while others have pointed out that it is not known how many Iranian officials and their offspring are even seeking entry to the US in the first place, according to al-Monitor.
The legislation uses the State Department’s Section 7031(c) sanction authority to blacklist Iranian targets. Those criteria require “credible evidence” linking the individual to an egregious rights violation like ordering a killing or participating in torture, an unnamed official told al-Monitor.
Washington already has a policy in place restricting entry by high-ranking Iranians and their families, whose applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to a State Department spokesperson.
The US led the charge to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women earlier this month, citing alleged abuses against protesters. Tehran countered that its removal was “entirely illegal” and has accused Washington and its allies of attempting to destabilize the country by fomenting riots and unrest in the guise of legitimate protests.