April 2018: US Congress passes bill recognising 1988 massacre in Iran

The United States House of Representatives on 26 April 2018 passed the Iran Human Rights and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act (H.R. 4744). The text in particular refers to the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners in Iran:

Paragraph 7 of Section 2, subsection (a) states:
(7) Over a 4-month period in 1988, the Iranian regime carried out the barbaric mass executions of thousands of political prisoners by hanging and firing squad for refusing to renounce their political affiliations and in some cases for possessing political reading material, including prisoners of conscience, teenagers, and pregnant women. In a recently disclosed audiotape, the late Hussein Ali Montazeri, a grand ayatollah who served as former Supreme leader Khomeini’s chief deputy, said that the 1988 mass killings were “the greatest crime committed during the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us”.
Later down the text adds:
(b) SENSE Of CONGRESS.—It is the sense of the Congress that the United States should—
(4) condemn Iranian human rights abuses against dissidents, including the massacre in 1988 and the suppression of political demonstrations in 1999, 2009, and 2017, and pressure the Government of Iran to provide family members detailed information that they were denied about the final resting places of any missing victims of such abuses; and
The bill was passed by a vote of 410 to 2.


Subsequently, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a press release that included the text of remarks on the House Floor on 24 April 2018 by Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, in which he referred to the 1988 massacre and later called for the Iranian authorities to be held accountable:
“As this legislation details, today the regime flagrantly disregards commitments it’s made to respect the fundamental rights of the Iranian people. Many of us recall the barbaric mass executions carried out over a four-month period in 1988. Thousands of political prisoners were executed by hanging and firing squad for refusing to renounce their political affiliations.”
Other Members of Congress, including Rep. Eliot Engel, the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ted Poe, highlighted the need for an investigation into the 1988 massacre during the debate on the bill that took place on 24 April. Click on the images below to watch some of the speeches: