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Bills Targeting Iran Pass The US House In Landmark Aid Package

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During an unusual Saturday session, the US House of Representatives passed a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel, which also incorporated three bills targeting the Iranian government.

The “21st Century Peace Through Strength Act” overcame opposition from a group of Republicans who were holding up a vote for months, demanding no further assistance to Ukraine.

The main bill targeting the Islamic Republic and dubbed the MAHSA Act, was introduced after nationwide protests rocked Iran in 2022-2023. The unrest began after a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in hijab police custody in September 2022. During the protests, regime forces killed around 550 protesters, injured hundreds and arrested over 22,000 people.

Mahsa Amini, who died in the custody of Iran’s ‘morality police” in 2022

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul had introduced the “21st Century Peace Through Strength Act”, which he said was a means of confronting Iran and its allies China and Russia through a series of new sanctions as the three continue to destabilize global geopolitics.

“In order to truly confront the generational threat posed by the unholy alliance of Russia, China, and Iran, we need to make substantive policy changes in addition to providing critical security assistance to our partners and investing in our defense industrial base,” he said.

“I’m proud the ’21st Century Peace through Strength Act’ includes the most comprehensive sanctions against Iran Congress has passed in years; the bipartisan, bicameral REPO Act; and protects Americans from the malign influence of the CCP-controlled TikTok. The time to pass this is now – we cannot wait anymore.”

The Mahsa Amini Human rights and Security Accountability Act, or simply the MAHSA Act, will see the imposition of sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader’s office, its appointees and anyone affiliated with the office and its work. It is a huge nod to the impact that the 22-year-old’s death has had globally since September 2022.

Iranian-American activists campaigned persistently for the past year, as the Senate Democrats delayed putting the measure to a vote, while it had overwhelmingly passed the House. Earlier this month. A watered-down versions of the bill finally passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but now the original version has been incorporated into the larger aid package and is expected to pass the Senate.

The Mahsa Act requires the US government to impose applicable sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his Office and his appointees, Iran’s president and a number of entities affiliated with Khamenei.

It also requires the US President to report to Congress every year whether those officials should remain under existing sanctions, making it much harder for the current and future administrations to unilaterally lift the sanctions.

Another bill incorporated into the legislative package on Saturday is Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum Act or the SHIP Act, which targets Tehran’s illicit oil exports in defiance of US sanctions.

This bill requires the President to impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions against foreign persons that knowingly transport, process, refine, or otherwise deal in petroleum and petroleum products (including petrochemicals) originating in Iran.