U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R), currently serving his eleventh term in Congress representing Southern California’s 39th District, attended an intimate meeting with political, community, and business leaders from Los Angeles’ Iranian-American Jewish community on February 19th, to discuss American foreign policy. Royce assumed the influential position of Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January.
Among the various topics discussed was the need to strengthen and enforce economic sanctions against the Iranian government. Royce, a leading voice in Congress on the issue, pledged to continue to use all available economic measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Royce warned that those who oppose sanctions underestimate the manipulative tactics of the Iranian regime. Royce was the original co-sponsor of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syrian Human Rights Act of 2012. Following the bill’s passage, with Royce’s support, Iranian officials engaging in censorship activities were targeted with asset freezes and travel bans. The leaders from the Iranian-American Jewish community thanked Royce for his steadfast support of sanctions against Iran, which last week week began installing advanced centrifuges at its main uranium enrichment plans at Natanz, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Royce also voiced his criticism of U.S.-government funded media that is being broadcast into Iran, such as Voice of America, which he believes fails to serve the best interests of the United States. Royce argued that such media programming should serve as a foreign policy tool that effectively impacts the hearts and minds of Iranian citizens. Likening the matter to Cold War broadcasts into the former Soviet Union, Royce advocated for a more robust Iran strategy that would include discussions with recent immigrants to the United States from Iran because only they can testify firsthand to the political climate on the ground in Iran.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee that Royce chairs is responsible for overseeing broadcasting to Iran. As such, Royce pledged to work tirelessly to ensure that U.S. broadcasting initiatives effectively promote democracy and human rights in Iran. Other topics discussed included the vital importance of a strong U.S.- Israel relationship and the critical role of the Iron Dome air defense system in protecting Israeli citizens.
30 YEARS AFTER was proud to have convened this meeting with Congressman Royce and commends his steadfast leadership and friendship in the United States Congress. We agree in the strongest terms with his recommendation that Iranians who have immigrated to the United States are in the best position to inform both the American government and the American people regarding the true nature of the Iranian regime – including its human rights abuses, persecution of minorities, and global support for terrorism.
For the Iranian-American Jewish leaders who met with Royce this week, it was a privilege to have offered our input regarding Iran to the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs – an individual with tremendous influence on American foreign policy towards Iran, Israel, and the entire world.
In a broader sense, the meeting provided a truly unique and invaluable opportunity to inform our policymakers about issues we care deeply about and to hear the policymaker’s perspectives and policy agenda directly. Such meetings stand as a testament to the exceptional nature of America's democratic system.
Oron Maher, a real estate broker and attorney, serves on the Board of Directors of 30 YEARS AFTER. Sam Yebri, an attorney and Los Angeles City Commissioner, serves as the President of 30 YEARS AFTER.