January 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay GOP group criticizes implementation of Iran nuclear deal
Iran, gay news, Washington Blade

Log Cabin Republicans has criticized the implementation of the deal that Iran reached with the U.S. and five other countries over its nuclear program. (Image public domain)

A gay Republican group on Saturday criticized the implementation of the deal that the U.S. and five other countries reached with Iran over its nuclear program.

“Log Cabin Republicans opposed the Iran deal then, we oppose the Iran deal now and we will continue to oppose it in the future,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo told the Washington Blade.

Roll Call in March 2015 published a full-page ad from Log Cabin Republicans that urged Secretary of State John Kerry not to broker a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. The spot featured a silhouette of what appears to be a dead man hanging from a rope attached to a gallows and two legs hanging in the air.

Log Cabin Republicans, Iran, gay news, Washington Blade

Roll Call in March 2015 ran an ad from Log Cabin Republicans that urged Secretary of State John Kerry not to sign a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran is among the countries in which homosexuality remains punishable by death.

“Log Cabin Republicans has long held the position that any deal with Iran that does not include consideration of human rights abuses against women, religious minorities and gays is a bad deal,” Angelo told the Blade last July after the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China announced the deal. “This is a bad deal.”

The Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, a Toronto-based organization that assists LGBT Iranians who have fled their homeland, last July criticized the deal.

“IRQR feels it is important the public be educated that despite this deal, human rights continue to be abused in Iran causing many to suffer,” said the organization in a statement. “The IRQR will continue to name the plight of Iranian LGBT persons and to respond as more asylum seekers cry for support through the arduous asylum process.”

Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees Executive Director Arsham Parsi, a gay man from the Iranian city of Shiraz who received asylum from the Canadian government, has lived in Toronto since 2006.

He told the Blade on Saturday his organization’s criticisms of the deal remain.

Obama: Jason Rezaian ‘courageous journalist’

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on Saturday announced the implementation of the deal hours after the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and four other Americans who had been imprisoned in Iran. The Associated Press reported the deal allows for the reduction of economic sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.

President Obama on Sunday in a statement he delivered from the White House said sanctions against Iran remain in place over its human rights record.

Obama described Rezaian as a “courageous journalist for the Washington Post who wrote about the daily lives and hopes of the Iranian people.” The president also spoke about the four other Americans who had been “unjustly detained by Iran.”

“This is a good day because we are once again seeing what is possible with strong American diplomacy,” said Obama.

“The nuclear deal was never intended to resolve all of our differences with Iran,” he added. “[It] has created a unique window, an opportunity to resolve important issues.”

Kerry on Saturday made a similar point.

“We understand that this marker alone does not wipe away all of the concerns that the international community has rightly expressed about Iran’s policies and actions and choices in the region,” he told reporters in Vienna after Amano announced the implementation of the deal. “But we also know without doubt there is not a challenge in the entire region that wouldn’t become much more complicated, much worse, if Iran had a nuclear weapon.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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