Reporters asked the White House a series of questions on dealing with the current turmoil in Iran including whether the Biden administration would favor deporting family members of all Iran regime authorities here in the United States, to which Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel responded, calling it a “legal issue, not a political tool.”
The statement from the State Department comes as Iranian Americans, members of Congress, and human rights groups call on the President and his team to enact economic sanctions against the Iranian government and family members associated with officials in light of brutal crackdowns against protesters in Iran.
Patel reiterated President Biden’s statement on the Iranian protests, stating that the administration “will continue to take action to impose further costs on the perpetrators of the violence against peaceful protesters and other human rights abuses.” Patel further emphasized that he was “not going to preview any potential actions.”
Regarding the deportation of Iranian regime family members living and working in the U.S., Patel said that the measure of deportation and enforcement of immigration laws is managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and not the State Department.
“Our viewpoint is that individual deportations are a legal issue and not a political tool,” said Patel.
When reporters pressed again on this issue, Patel stated that the administration has a “number of tools in our arsenal to hold Iran accountable for a lot of their destabilizing activities.”
“I’m not going to read them out necessarily from here. But as it relates to this, as it relates to individual deportations, our view is that they’re a legal issue, not a political tool, and they live within the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. So, I’d refer you to them to speak to that,” said Patel.
The issue of Iranian officials and their family members working and living in America has been a concern for many Iranian Americans whose friends and family members in Iran are facing brutal repression from the Islamic regime.
Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by the Iranian morality police over her hijab a few weeks ago, Iranian men and women have taken to the streets to protest the Islamic repression that many face under the mullahs, burning hijabs and chanting anti-regime slogans.
With protests ongoing and security officials sent to crackdown on protesters, Iranian Americans at home have rallied behind their compatriots in Tehran, calling on the American government to punish the regime for their actions. On social media, many Iranian Americans have pointed out the hypocrisy of Islamic officials’ children living, studying and working in America and Europe, posting their photos to social media in bikinis and designer clothing and engaging in activities that Iranian citizens are punished brutally for in Iran.
On Twitter, journalist Pouria Zeraati highlighted the double standard of Iranian officials, showing photos of Islamic official Emami Kashani’s granddaughters wearing revealing clothing and driving expensive cars.
Mina Bai, a columnist for the Norwegian newspaper Nettavisen, also took to Twitter to post the double standard of the Iranian regime, posting a photo of Iranian regime official Ahmad Iravani and his daughter modeling in America.
Videos of Iravani’s Islamic wedding in Washington D.C. also flooded Twitter social media, sparking outrage, shock, and calls of hypocrisy from observers online. Other users on Twitter also posted photos of Iranian officials in Canada, highlighting their luxurious lives and pictures of them with Basij forces.
Senators and members of Congress from both political parties have raised the issue of former Iranian officials working as lecturers and professors at top universities, calling on college administrations to explain their reasons for hiring them.
Congressional Republicans have just recently announced their intentions to probe Oberlin College Professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, a former Iranian official who served in the government during the 1988 massacre.
Many are calling on the President and his team to cease negotiations with the Islamic regime over its nuclear program and instead enact a maximum pressure policy against Iran, crippling the country’s economy and leading to the Ayatollahs’ fall and their potential ouster.