On 1 January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution “condemning the government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Bahá’í minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.” H.Res.134 is the 23rd Congressional resolution since 1982 to address the oppression of the Bahá’ís in Iran. “The Bahá’í community is encouraged by the emphasis the U.S. Congress has placed on the human rights abuses in Iran,” said Mr. Kenneth E. Bowers, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. “We are convinced that this continued international pressure has kept the situation for the Bahá’ís in Iran from getting much worse.” The resolution also called on the President and Secretary of State, together with responsible nations, to condemn the ongoing persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran and to demand the release of religious prisoners, including seven Bahá’í leaders who have been sentenced to 20 years in prison – Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. Further, the resolution urged the President and Secretary of State to utilize measures “to sanction officials of the Government of Iran and other individuals directly responsible for egregious human rights violations in Iran, including against the Bahá’í community.” H.Res.134 gained strong bi-partisan support. Of the 146 representatives co-sponsoring the resolution, 78 are Republicans and 68 are Democrats. “Given the U.S. government’s strong leadership in the international arena, the Congress has sent an important signal to the parliaments and foreign ministries of friends and allies abroad to speak out for the human rights of Bahá’ís and all oppressed people in Iran,” stated Congressman Robert Dold (R-Illinois), who introduced the resolution. Representative Brad Sherman, an original co-sponsor of the resolution and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Religious Freedom Caucus, added, "Bahá’ís in Iran continue to suffer from repression, discrimination, and harassment by the regime. I have long advocated for the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in Iran, and I support the efforts of the Bahá’ís and their allies to speak out against the abhorrent abuses faced by this peaceful community in Iran. The passage of H.Res.134 will bring greater attention to the plight of those Bahá’ís currently held in prison in Iran because of their religion."