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.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined the summit. In his remarks, Senator Rubio said,” So, this battle, your battle, our battle, is not simply to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, not simply to keep Iran from continuing to sponsor terrorism—this is all very important—the real battle is to give Iran back to the Iranian people.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Too often these days when we talk about Iran, it’s all bad news. It’s about nuclear ambitions, it’s about the sponsorship of terrorism, it’s about a regime that executes people. I think lost in all this conversation is that there’s a huge gap, and an enormous difference between the people who govern Iran, the clerics who govern the country, and the millions of people who live there.
Iran, the nation, the people, is home to an ancient culture which has contributed to mankind in extraordinary ways in the arts, in literature, in the sciences. That’s why the nature of the Iranian people are rooted deeply in their culture. Their leaders are radical clerics of a radical brand of Shia Islam who seek not simply to dominate the region but destroy nations that are in their way.
So, one of the things that I’m so glad that all of you do, and one of the things I hope will continue to do, is make very clear that our quarrel is not with the people of Iran or with their incredible civilization. Our quarrel is with the men who govern that country that have turned it into something completely different from what it has always been and what it has always been meant to be, and what it can be again.
It wasn’t that long ago, just a few decades ago, that Iran was home to three, four major religions. One of the few nations in the region that had so many different faiths who live there in peace alongside one another. Now, it’s governed by a radical clerical regime who wants not simply to continue to sponsor terrorism, but to continue to terrorize their neighbors.
So, this battle, your battle, our battle, is not simply to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, not simply to keep Iran from continuing to sponsor terrorism—this is all very important—the real battle is to give Iran back to the Iranian people, so they can reclaim the greatness of an extraordinary civilization and once again be the home of a peaceful country in which people from all different backgrounds live together and contribute to the world once again. So, thank you for everything you’re all doing to highlight this, to work on this, and now we will be with you every single step of the way.