Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Thursday that the Obama administration’s State Department is illegally delaying the publication of a report on human rights violations in Iran, and called on the agency to be fined.
The report was scheduled to be published by Feb. 25, but U.S. sources said it has been bottled to avoid adversely affecting world powers’ negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which have a June 30 deadline for a deal.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Cruz wrote that in May, he and five other senators wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, asking for information about the delay. According to Cruz, the department replied in a letter dated June 9 that the report had been held back because of Kerry’s travel schedule, noting that “the secretary’s participation in the rollout [of the report], even if it must be delayed by his travel, elevates the report.”
Cruz wrote that “the issue of Iran’s abysmal human rights record is inextricably intertwined with its nuclear ambitions.”
“The State Department… must respect the law, and Congress owes it to the American people to gather all relevant information before it casts what may well be the most significant vote of this legislative session,” he wrote.
Cruz plans to file legislation that would fine the State Department 5 percent of its operating budget for every 30 days the publication of the report is delayed.