S. 2681: Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2004

July 16, 2004



2nd Session


July 16, 2004


To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iran.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2004'.


Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The people of the United States have long demonstrated an interest in the well-being of the people of Iran , including through the work of missionaries whose work in Iran dates back to the 1830s.

(2) Famous Americans such as Howard Baskerville, Dr. Samuel Martin, Jane E. Doolittle, and Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr., made significant contributions to Iranian society by furthering the educational opportunities of the people of Iran and improving the opportunities of the less fortunate citizens of Iran .

(3) Iran served as a key ally of the United States following World War II and through the late 1970s serving as an important regional ally and a key bulwark against Soviet influence.

(4) In November 1979, following the arrival of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi in the United States, a mob of students and extremists seized the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran , holding United States diplomatic personnel hostage until January 1981.

(5) Following the seizure of the United States Embassy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the repressive revolutionary movement in Iran , expressed support for the actions of the students in taking American citizens hostage.

(6) Despite the historic victory of Mohammad Khatami in the presidential election of May 1997, an election which Khatami won with 69 percent of the vote and in which an estimated 91 percent of the electorate participated, control of the internal and external affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran is still exercised by the courts in Iran and the Revolutionary Guards, Supreme Leader, and Council of Guardians of the Government of Iran .

(7) The election results of the May 1997 election and the high level of voter participation in that election demonstrate that the people of Iran favor economic and political reforms and greater interaction with the United States and the Western world in general.

(8) Despite the election of President Khatami and the outreach of the Clinton administration to ease sanctions and to promote people-to-people exchanges, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Militant Clerics' Society, the Islamic Coalition Organization, and Supporters of the Party of God have all opposed efforts to open Iranian society to Western influences and have opposed efforts to change the dynamic of relations between the United States and Iran .

(9) For the past two decades, the Department of State has found Iran to be the leading sponsor of international terrorism in the world.

(10) In 1983, the Iran -sponsored Hezbollah terrorist organization conducted suicide terrorist operations against United States military and civilian personnel in Beirut, Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Americans.

(11) Intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel have linked Iran to attacks against American military personnel at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and to al Qaeda attacks against civilians in Saudi Arabia in 2004.

(12) Iran has provided a safe haven and a base of operations for terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and Ansar al Islam, and to terrorist leaders, including Abu Musab al Zarkawi, Zayman al Zawahiri, and members of the bin Laden family.

(13) Iran currently operates more than 10 radio and television stations broadcasting in Iraq that support violent actions against United States and coalition personnel in Iraq.

(14) The current leaders of Iran , Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hashemi Rafsanjani, have repeatedly called upon Muslims to kill Americans in Iraq and install a theocratic regime in Iraq.

(15) The United States intelligence community believes the Government of Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

(16) The Government of Iran has failed to meet repeated pledges to arrest and extradite foreign terrorists in Iran .

(17) The United States Government believes that the Government of Iran supports terrorists and extremist religious leaders in Iraq with the clear intention of subverting coalition efforts to bring peace and democracy to Iraq.

(18) The Ministry of Defense of Iran confirmed in July 2003 that it had successfully conducted the final test of the Shahab-3 missile, giving Iran an operational intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of striking both Israel and United States troops throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan.


It is the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support regime change for the Islamic Republic of Iran and to promote the transition to a democratic government to replace that regime.


(a) IN GENERAL- The President is authorized to provide assistance to foreign and domestic pro-democracy groups opposed to the non-democratic Government of Iran , including the award of grants to qualified pro-democracy radio and television broadcasting organizations.

(b) ELIGIBILITY FOR ASSISTANCE- Financial assistance may only be provided under this section to individuals, organizations, or entities that have--

(1) officially renounced the use of terrorism;

(2) pledged to adhere to nonproliferation regimes for nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and materiel;

(3) pledged to support the destruction of all prohibited stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iran ; and

(4) supported the adoption of a democratic form of government in Iran .


(1) IN GENERAL- The President is authorized to provide assistance to support foreign and domestic pro-democracy groups opposed to the non-democratic Government of Iran that--

(A) are dedicated to democratic values;

(B) show a commitment to human rights, equality of women, and freedom of religious worship;

(C) demonstrate a commitment to fostering equality of opportunity; and

(D) support freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

(2) FUNDING- The President may provide assistance under paragraph (1) using--

(A) funds available to the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED); and

(B) amounts authorized to be appropriated under subsection (g).

(d) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT- The President shall notify the Committees on Foreign Relations and Appropriations of the Senate and the Committees on International Relations and Appropriations of the House of Representatives at least 15 days in advance of each obligation of assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures under section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2394-l).

(e) COORDINATION OF POLICY- In order to ensure maximum coordination among Federal agencies, the President shall appoint a senior member of the National Security Council as special assistant to the President on Iran matters.

(f) SENSE OF CONGRESS ON DIPLOMATIC ASSISTANCE- It is the sense of Congress that--

(1) contacts should be expanded with opposition groups in Iran that meet the criteria under subsection (b);

(2) support for transition to democracy in Iran should be expressed by United States representatives and officials in all appropriate international fora;

(3) official meetings with representatives of the Government of Iran should be terminated;

(4) efforts to bring a halt to the nuclear weapons program of Iran , including steps to end the supply of nuclear components or fuel to Iran , should be intensified, with particular attention focused on the cooperation of the Government of Russia with that nuclear weapons program; and

(5) officials and representatives of the United States Government should strongly and unequivocally support indigenous efforts in Iran to call for a national referendum on the form of government in Iran , including drawing international attention to the violations by the Government of Iran of human rights, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press.

(g) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State $10,000,000 to carry out activities under this section.


(a) INITIAL DESIGNATION- It is the sense of Congress that, not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President should designate at least one democratic opposition organization as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.

(b) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT- At least 15 days before designating a democratic opposition organization as eligible to receive assistance under section 4, the President shall notify the Committees on Foreign Relations and Appropriations of the Senate and the Committees on International Relations and Appropriations of the House of Representatives of the proposed designation.


Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise approve of the use of the Armed Forces of the United States in carrying out activities under this Act.