Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is joining a bipartisan effort that takes Iran to task for continued human rights abuses against religious minorities.

S. Res 139 urges Iran to release people who have been imprisoned solely because of their religion. Additionally, the measure condemns Iran's state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority as one of the regime's longstanding human rights violations. The resolution also calls on the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Iranian government officials and other individuals directly responsible for serious human rights abuses.

"Iran's leaders have long violated the human rights of their religious minorities," said Senator Toomey. "In the face of these despicable acts, it's incumbent upon the United States to stand with the Iranian people including the Baha'i minority. I urge the Trump administration to employ the strongest sanctions against Iran to help ensure that the regime honors the basic dignity of its own people."

The Baha'i faith is a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind and was founded by Baha'u'llah in 19th-century Persia. This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah. There are an estimated five to six million Baha'is around the world in more than 200 countries and territories. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iranian Baha'is have regularly been persecuted and harassed by Iranian authorities, including having their homes ransacked. They have also been banned from attending university or holding government jobs.

Including Senator Toomey, S. Res 139 has been co-sponsored by 29 senators from both sides of the aisle.