The U.S. government could send 100 mostly Christian Iranians stranded in Austria back to Iran this week, where they would face harsh persecution by Iran's Islamic government.
"The administration needs to act fast to stop this travesty," said Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom to the Washington Free Beacon.
Shea said the U.S. government could give the refugees notices denying them entry to the U.S. as early as this week. That would force Austria to send them back to Iran.
"These deportations, during a human-rights crackdown in Iran no less, could be a death sentence for these persecuted Christians and other minorities. They would undermine the important statements against Iran's repression by President Trump, Vice President Pence and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley," Shea said.
The Iranian refugees traveled to Vienna a year ago under a Cold War-era law passed by Congress to help Jews escape persecution in the Soviet Union. They have since been in limbo because of inaction by the Obama and Trump Administrations.
"The U.S. has broken its promise to Iranian religious minorities," Anna Buwalda, executive director of the Jubilee Campaign told the Free Beacon. "They traveled to Vienna at the invitation of the United States, with the understanding that they would soon be reunited with their American families. Instead, the groups of refugees have been forced to wait there for more than a year with no explanation. They have no source of income, and many have spent down their life savings."
"The U.S. government must solve this situation quickly and humanely," she said.