Gregory T. Angelo, the group’s president, on Oct. 13 noted in a statement that it is “no secret that the Iranian regime kills gay men — and men simply suspected of being gay — and cloaks the abominable practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in the guide of forced gender reassignment surgery.”
Iran is among the handful of countries in which those who are convicted of consensual same-sex sexual relations face the death penalty.
The Washington Blade has previously reported the Iranian government encourages transgender people to undergo sex reassignment surgery — offering them financial assistance and other incentives to do so. Arsham Parsi, the founder of the Toronto-based Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees who is originally from the Iranian city of Shiraz, said during a previous interview that nearly half of those who underwent the procedure were not trans, but gay.
Trump on Oct. 13 said the Iranian “regime violently suppresses its own citizens,” noting in his speech that announced his decision that the country’s government “shot unarmed student protesters in the street during the Green Revolution” in 2009.
The president made no mention of Iran’s LGBT rights record. Trump also did not highlight the fact his administration has effectively banned Iranians and the citizens of four other predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
The original executive order that Trump signed in January suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and banned citizens of Iran and six other predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country. The Blade a few weeks later spoke with a gay Iranian man in the Turkish city of Yalova who said the mandate prevented him from resettling in the U.S.
Maysam Sodagari, a gay Iranian man with a green card, was on a cruise when Trump signed the executive order. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents temporarily detained Sodagari in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while he was disembarking from the ship.
“As the only LGBT organization to actively, repeatedly and consistently maintain that the Iran Deal had negative consequences for the LGBT community since its inception, President Trump’s decision today is one welcomed by Log Cabin Republicans,” said Angelo in his statement.
“President Trump’s statement today maintains the United States interest in the Iran Deal while opening the door for renegotiation that ultimately could lead to a safer world and a better life for the LGBT community in Iran,” he added.
Then-Secretary of State John Kerry and other negotiators from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China in July 2015 announced they had reached an agreement with the Iranian government over its nuclear program.
Log Cabin Republicans earlier that year ran a full-page ad in Roll Call that urged Kerry not to broker the deal with Iran. 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.
“Right now Iran is executing gay people and people merely suspected of being gay,” it read. “Why are John Kerry and the Obama administration even contemplating rewarding a nation guilty of terrible human rights abuses against gays, Jews and women by lifting sanctions? Human rights can’t be ignored in these negotiations.”
Log Cabin Republicans last month celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Trump International Hotel in downtown D.C.