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Press Release

December 23, 2022

Contact: Sarah Stern

(301) 922-9667


EMET would like to express our most profound gratitude to Senator Patrick Toomey, (Republican, PA), Senator Benjamin Cardin, (Democrat, Maryland), Senator Jacky Rosen, (Democrat, NV), Senator Bill Haggerty (Republican, TN), Senator Christopher Coons, (Democrat, DE), Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, (Republican, MS), Senator Gary Peters, (Democrat, MI), Senator Marsha Blackburn, (Republican, TN), Senator Tim Scott, (Republican, SC), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (Democrat, New York), Senator Tim Kaine, (Democrat, Virginia) for their firm support of the Masih Alinejad HUNT Act of 2021.

For several years now, Iranian-American dissidents have felt under severe threat for simply exercising their First Amendment Freedoms and speaking out against the brutal and repressive theocracy in Iran. This bill is named for one particularly courageous Iranian-American journalist, author, and blogger, Masih Alinejad. Because she has valiantly worked to give voice to the millions of voiceless people who are forced to endure the repression of the Islamic Republic, giving voice to the courageous dissidents throughout the streets of Iran who have endangered their very lives for speaking out, the Islamic Republic sent people to kidnap her and to assassinate her. She, right now, has to live in “Safe Houses”, her brother had been arrested and imprisoned for two years, and her mother was under house arrest, simply because she has found the courage to exercise her freedom of speech, as an American citizen.

Recently, after Ms. Alinejad’s appearance with the television journalist Bill Maher, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech, specifically signaling her out, saying “The truth prevailed when we witnessed the American agent (Masih Alinejad). The American political agent compares the hijab to the Berlin Wall. (Of course, that is an absurd allegation. Ms. Alinejad is not an American agent. She is simply a brave dissident.)

This is not, however, only about Ms. Alinejad. There are hundreds of courageous expatriate Iranians throughout the world, whose lives are in danger in various countries throughout the world, including Canada, Turkey, and various European capitals. As Ms. Alinejad explains, “As long as there are no consequences for the Iranian regime for their actions, there is no reason for them to stop killing people, to stop kidnapping people, and to stop assassinating people.”

Assassination plots were also recently uncovered even against our own former White House and State Department officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and former United States Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook.

The purpose of this legislation is to finally put some consequences into the Islamic Republic’s heinous actions. It identifies and imposes severe sanctions on those agents or persons who are responsible for or complicit in the abuses toward dissidents on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Says Sarah Stern, EMET Founder and President, “It is morally outrageous that the long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran has managed to get by with near impunity, as they survey, harass, terrorize, kidnap, and attempt to assassinate the courageous voice of the Persian dissident community. One would hope, at the very least. that the Iranian-American expatriate community could enjoy the same first amendment freedoms, in this country, as everyone else. Yet, even in this country, as well as throughout the world courageous former Iranian citizens, as well as our own former White House officials, have been terrorized by agents of the Islamic Republic. This has got to cease immediately, and we are incredibly grateful to the eleven United States Senators who are the original co-sponsors of this very important legislation.”

EMET is an 18-year-old pro-American, pro-Israel and pro-human rights, foreign policy think tank and policy shop in Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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