Rep. Menendez' Provisions to Crack Down on
Iranian Nuclear Program, Support Rights of Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey Passes House

Washington, DC--The House of Representatives today passed legislation authorizing the Department of State. The bill included provisions offered by U.S. Representative Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to crack down on the Iranian nuclear program by urging the members of the G8 to stop Russia from providing Iran with nuclear assistance, and to condition Russia’s continued membership in the G8 on their ending such assistance. The bill also included a provision authored by Menendez to protect the religious and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Menendez made the following statement to the House:

“Iran’s nuclear program continues to threaten the world, the United States, and Israel. For nearly two decades, Iran has pursued a clandestine nuclear program while claiming it had to keep this program hidden from the international community because of the sanctions against it.

“Let’s be clear. Iran is a country with huge oil and natural gas reserves. They don’t need nuclear power for energy consumption.

“That’s why I am glad the bill includes my language which makes it clear that Russia needs to stop helping Iran develop nuclear energy plants.

“This bill also includes language I wrote on the religious freedom and rights of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Turkey.

“The Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world. Yet the Government of Turkey has refused to recognize the Ecumenical Patriarch’s international status and its significance to Orthodox Christians.

“That is why the bill states that Turkey must immediately eliminate all forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race or religion.”

For more information, contact Jessica Lewis, Democratic Staff Director, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Office of Congressman Menendez, (202) 225-7919, or visit the Congressman's official website at

Congressman Robert Menendez is serving his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives as a representative to New Jersey's 13th Congressional District along the Hudson River. He is the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, re-elected to a second term by his colleagues on 17 November 2004. In that post, Rep. Menendez is the 3rd-ranking Democrat in the House, the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congressional history and the only one ever elected to a leadership position in either chamber.

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