The bipartisan letter noted that the Iranian regime's human rights record remains bleak, citing extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, widespread use of torture, violence against women, and unfair trials, "among a lengthy list of other severe human rights violations."
The 28 Senators added in their letter: "More than two years after the election of Mohammad Khatami as the Iranian regime's president, the evidence indicates little perceptible change, internally or internationally, in Tehran's behavior... Now is not the time to associate ourselves with a regime that continues to subject its people to repressive and brutal practices. Rather, we should work with the Iranian people to further their deeply held aspirations for democracy and human rights."
The Senators cited a statement issued by 220 members of the House of Representatives - a majority of this body - identifying the People's Mojahedin as "a legitimate resistance movement, even though they remain on your agency's list of terrorist organizations."
The Senators also noted that the State Department's decision to drop Iran's designation as "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" did not change Tehran's behavior. Rather, "Tehran has continued to use car bombs, missile attacks, and other terrorist acts against the opposition" which claimed seven lives in June.
The Senators concluded: "We believe that current U.S. policy toward Iran should take significant steps towards supporting the goals of democracy and human rights in Iran. With the increased likelihood of instability in Iran, an effort must be made to encourage the Iranian opposition forces that will help promote long-term stability."
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
October 14, 1999