On the brink of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, an online international summit, entitled “Trans-Atlantic Summit on Iran Policy, Time to Hold the Iranian Regime Accountable,” brought together Iranians in various countries around the world from 10,000 locations.
Among the personalities who addressed the summit were 30 bipartisan U.S. lawmakers from the House and the Senate, including Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Bob Menendez, and dignitaries like Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor, General James Jones, National Security Advisor to President Obama (2009-2010), Newt Gingrich, 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Joseph Lieberman, former U.S. Senator, as well as a delegation of U.K. lawmakers, and Amb. Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the keynote speaker of the summit, paid tribute to Navid Afkari, a rebellious national hero recently executed by the regime and said: “Faced with executions and massacres, the people of Iran urge the United Nations, and the U.N. Security Council, in particular, to restore snapback sanctions stipulated in the six U.N. resolutions against the clerical regime in Iran. Otherwise, Khamenei will continue to ravage the nation as his regime’s survival depends on murder and suppression. If Khamenei were to stop executions, he would lose control of the situation, and uprisings simmering in the depths of Iranian society would erupt and overthrow the mullahs’ religious fascism.”
Speakers in the summit demanded justice for over 30,000 MEK and other activists, political prisoners massacred in 1988. They urged an end to the policy of appeasement and demanded those who ordered and carried out this great crime, who currently occupy high positions in the regime, to be brought to justice.
Senator Roy Blunt joined the summit. In his remarks, Senator Blunt said,”The Iranian regime remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism, continues to defy warnings from the international community to abandon its nuclear program and blatantly violates its treaty obligations, not to mention its blatant disregard for human rights.”
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
It’s great to join you as we talk about more freedom and more tolerance in Iran. The Iranian regime remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism, continues to defy warnings from the international community to abandon its nuclear program and blatantly violates its treaty obligations, not to mention its blatant disregard for human rights.
Iran’s threatened to wipe one of our closest allies, Israel, off the map. They violated multiple legally binding arms embargoes established by the UN Security Council, and they continue to violate international restrictions by advancing their ballistic missile program. Iran’s a force for destruction and destabilization in the Middle East and around the world. The Iranian regime funds and provides weapons to the Shia militias in Iraq, provides arms and military forces to the brutal Assad regime in Syria, supports Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and provides advanced weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen. Hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq were either killed or injured by IED sponsored by Iranian forces. And by the way, at this moment, Iran is trying their best to interfere in America’s election process with putting false information out there on way more than a daily basis, purporting to come from other sources, but we know where it’s coming from, and we’re going to do what we need to stop that.
As the coronavirus began to spread around the world, the Iranian regime neglected the well-being of its own people. It suppressed information about the outbreak. Iran’s leaders have refused offers that our country, the United States, has given of assistance to combat the virus, and they’ve revoked approval of support teams for international medical humanitarian organizations. It really seems that there’s no limit that they won’t go to harm the citizens of Iran. The Iranian people deserve better care and protection from their government, and they should be permitted to benefit from humanitarian assistance that’s already exempt from sanctions.
One obstacle to a better life for the Iranian people was the removal of Soleimani when he was killed earlier this year. A failing regime in Iran has done everything it can to make the former commander of the Quds force a martyr, but we all understand the cause of terrorism was his singular goal. He was a bad person. He spent his career far outside the boundaries of any civilized nation, and what that nation would consider acceptable behavior. He pretended to be a high ranking military official, but really was a terrorist in a uniform. If your idea of leading general is a general that leads in terrorist efforts, I think you’ve got the wrong idea of what a military leader is supposed to do. We understand that’s how people in control Iran today, however, look at what’s a reasonable way to act in a world that they want to be more con- in more turmoil, not less turmoil, the kind of daily turmoil that they create in their own country.
Now, thankfully that evil person that determined enemy of freedom and democracy in the United States was eliminated, and frankly, that elimination allows us some breathing room as they try to reconsolidate and determine who’s going to get the power that Soleimani had taken for himself. Despite the hopes that the previous administration had for moderation, Iran has just simply increased its destructive activities after the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, the JCPOA did not work.
Strengthening sanctions on Iran is an appropriate response to Iran’s continued aggression. The Iranian sanction regime is the best tool we have to hold Iran accountable, and one we really need to continue to keep. We hate the impact that that sanctions have had on the people of Iran, but the people of Iran have paid a much bigger price than dealing with sanctions because of the bad behavior of their government. They paid that big price because their government does behave badly and behaves badly toward them. I think it’s clear that their activity of this government, the behavior of the Iranian government hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years after the nuclear agreement. It continues to prevent a significant threat to U.S. interests, and they’re going to have to be held accountable for that.
I’ve long stood with you in your fight to ensure that we determine to never forget the residents of Camp Ashraf or forget our commitment to the people who were there. We worked really hard jointly. You and I working together with many of my colleagues and many of my former colleagues to see that we kept our word. I was able to visit so many of you in Albania just a couple of years ago. I was also able to lead meetings of a Congressional delegation on that same trip with Albanian leaders. I’ve had Albanian leaders since that trip, including the president, in my office in Washington to talk about the needs that need to be respected and the needs that need to be understood of people in Albania.
Now, another thing this really does, frankly, it allows more time to be focused on Iran than the time we were focusing on getting people to safety out of Camp Ashraf, but it also is important to look at the great accomplishments that they have made in the building and the vitalization of their new location in Albania. Hopefully, that won’t be a permanent location. Hopefully, the permanent location will be an Iran where people can live in a tolerant and free way.
There are many incredible achievements that have been made throughout the years opposing the regime. We have to continue to focus on eliminating eminent peril while losing sight of what’s happening in Iran and to the Iranian people. Our concern can’t just be being sure they don’t attack us or attack our friends outside of Iran. We need to be concerned about the daily attacks on the people of Iran who through their uprisings, their protests and strikes have been seeking regime change. And we really see an escalation of those protests in the last two years. People carry on that fight. Many of you either are involved in the fight directly or involved in doing what you can to encourage the fight from other places.
And no matter how brutal the regime gets, no much how—no matter how much physical or psychological torture, no matter how harsh the sentence, how many political prisoners are executed, activists and journalists abused in every single daily activity, but you continue to lead in that fight. We have to listen to the message of the Iranian people as they chant down the dictators. Iranians deserve a secular government that respects the rule of law, freedom of speech, and ethnic and religious differences. The United States stands with the Iranian people who are putting their lives and their safety on the line every day to pursue that kind of future. I’m pleased to stand with you to resist the oppress- Iranian regime in the cause of freedom and pleased to join you at this important event today.