An Issue Of Conscience
Mike Harrington On Human Rights In Iran (1976)

The Mossadegh Project | October 13, 2021                    


Congressional Record of the United States of America

Congressman Michael J. Harrington (1936 – ), Democrat from Massachusetts, highlighted the “gruesome” human rights problem in Iran during a 1976 House session. In his address, Harrington mentioned that the estimated number of Iranian political prisoners ranged between 40,000 - 100,000. Later that year, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi admitted to around 3,000.


REPRESSION IN IRAN




HON. MICHAEL HARRINGTON

OF MASSACHUSETTS

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Monday, May 17, 1976

Massachusetts Congressman Michael J. Harrington (1936 – ) Mr. HARRINGTON. Mr. Speaker, I recently sent a statement of support to a coalition of student and citizen groups in Baltimore who are attempting to raise public awareness and concern over the great number of political prisoners in Iran. I am inserting that statement in the RECORD at this point for the attention of my colleagues. It is regrettable indeed that so little international attention has been focused on this situation in comparison with the cases of, say, Chile and Brazil, where human rights violations are certainly serious but probably not as widespread as those under the Shah.

The statement follows:

STATEMENT BY CONGRESSMAN MICHAEL HARRINGTON FOR THE JOINT SESSION OF AMERICAN COMMUNITIES TO SUPPORT POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN

I am sorry that I am unable to deliver this message of support in person, because I believe the advancement of human rights is a crucial issue facing the world today. Accounts of torture and brutality by agents of autocratic governments may seem far away to those of us in the United States, but the horror of the situation is all too real for those involved. Our detachment from the situation and the lack of immediate material involvement make this an issue of conscience, one which will only come to prominence through the efforts and dedication of people like yourselves. I urge you all to press actively on whatever levels are available to you for a wider recognition of our obligation to protest violations of human rights wherever they occur. More important, the protests must have more teeth than the expressions of “official dismay” which presently constitute the lion’s share of U.S. human rights policy. The influence of our government is much more far-reaching than such feeble indications of concern, and should be brought to bear when possible.

In Iran the situation is particularly grim. Between forty and one hundred thousand people languish in jail for political offenses, hundreds and perhaps thousands have died from torture and execution, and the arbitrary and typically ruthless power of the Shah continues to be employed without restraint. No government resorting to such extremes has a claim on our respect.

I extend my full support to this assembly of the Joint Session of American Communities to Support Political Prisoners in Iran. I hope this can be one of many steps toward a heightened awareness of the gruesome human rights situation in Iran and around the world.


Shirley Chisholm Appeals For Human Rights in Iran (1972)
Shirley Chisholm Appeals For Human Rights in Iran (1972)

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Related links:

The President’s Failure In Iran | U.S. Congress, Feb. 15, 1979

U.S. Cooperates In Iranian Oppression | The Daily Iowan, July 6, 1976

Prof. Richard N. Frye: Iranian Revolt Like Labor Strikes (Dec. 1979)



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