Live report: Today, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is holding its annual “Free Iran world summit”. The Free Iran World Summit 2021 is the largest-ever online international event dedicated to liberating Iran from its oppressive religious dictatorship and paving the way for a free, democratic, and sovereign future.
The online summit is linking simultaneous rallies in major cities in different countries. The event connects 50,000 locations in 6 continents, 105 countries, and over one million viewers are participating in the program.
Pro-democracy activists inside Iran, lawmakers, former senior government officials, distinguished personalities, and humanitarians and advocates from around the world will take action in solidarity with the Iranian people’s unflinching struggle for freedom.
This page presents a live report of this event. Its content will be updated throughout the day:
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
In her keynote address to the summit, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “Our society is besieged by religious tyranny, the Coronavirus, and hunger, but it is also harboring within itself volcanic uprisings.
“The mullahs’ religious fascism chose the henchman of the 1988 massacre to solidify their rule and close ranks, to preserve their power, and to prevent their inevitable overthrow in the face of looming uprisings. Infamous as ‘the life-taking judge,’ [incoming regime president Ebrahim] Raisi is a robot in the regime’s Judiciary, programmed only to kill. “
Mrs. Rajavi described the era as “distinguished by three major developments.”
“First, the regime is politically and socially in a state of emergency, grappling with rampant crises;
“Second, Iranian society has entered a phase of upheavals and uprisings since December 2017.
“And third, a nationwide network has emerged, which is comprised of courageous, selfless rebels who keep alight the flames of the Resistance Units’ fight against symbols of religious fascism.
“In this era, pseudo-solutions and fabricated or virtual alternatives will not have the critical space needed to maneuver.
“Fake notions of moderation and reformism will lose color, and the only brilliant option remaining will be a revolution and the regime’s overthrow.
“To achieve this glorious objective, the Iranian Resistance’s asset and greatest backing are the furious masses who are not satisfied with anything less than the overthrow of this regime.
“Our asset is the rebellion and revolt of the army of youths who took to the streets in November 2019.
“And our power comes from a nationwide network of Resistance Units who have been working ceaselessly all days of the year, and in the year 2020, they doubled the number of their activities and operations compared to the previous year, in order to break the spell of repression.”
Regarding the failed policy of appeasement toward the mullahs’ regime, Mrs. Rajavi said, “Internationally, the 40-year experience of the Iranian Resistance leaves no doubt that the threat for government policies has always been complacency with this regime; the danger of giving in to the regime’s blackmail and sacrificing the Iranian people’s Resistance and human rights for commercial and political interests.
Sec. Michael Richard Pompeo, 70th United States Secretary of State
One conflict is the most important to understand to restore Iran to its rightful place in history. This is the real fight, and it began in those frightful first moments of the revolution in 1979. The central fight is the one in the streets, and in the mosques and in the minds of Iranians – it is the divide between the people and the organized opposition seeking freedom and democracy on the one side, and the entirety of the regime on the other.
I am proud that I have been on the right side of this fight for over a decade now.
Iranians want to prosper in their faith and protect their families – this is as true in Tehran as it is in Los Angeles, Austin, Nashville, or Kings Point.
The regime, of course, is headed by Khamenei, Raisi and the IRGC. It is revolutionary in its zeal. It is brutal. It is theocratic. It is craven and kleptocratic. Its leaders will kill their own by the thousands and then choose those who committed these massive atrocities to now lead their terror organization and their regime.
This misunderstanding–is understanding that there are no moderates. They are all revolutionary–recognizes and ultimately results in the fact that this regime is largely unchangeable by American policies, but we can weaken them, and we did.
The power destruction of the regime that resulted from our sanctions and our maximum pressure was real, but its application for under two years was insufficient to fully achieve its end goals. The regime is at its weakest point in decades.
Since 1979, every election in Iran has served only to give an appearance of republicanism to a corrupt, brutal theocracy. The 2021 presidential election, however, is vastly different from those before it, primarily because it is taking place when the theocratic regime is at its most precarious state since 1979, and its prospects of survival are openly questioned by regime insiders and challenged by a restive, freedom-loving nation. In short: very few people actually voted FOR Raisi.
This was a boycott. Turnout was the lowest since 1979, marking a total rejection of the regime and its candidates.
the United States should take the lead to hold [Raisi] accountable for crimes against humanity. Any dealings with Raisi, would be tantamount to dealing with a mass murderer. This is not only immoral but also counterproductive. We should make clear to our allies in Europe and Asia as well to make sure that they hold him accountable, and that if they deal with this man who sent thousands of his countrymen to execution in a massacre in 1988, the United States would hold them accountable as well.
As was the case with the Trump Administration, human rights and counter terrorism must be at the very center of our Iran policy. We must support the Iranian people. If we want to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, we have to apply pressure until they change their behavior, or until reforms which move Iran toward a democratic form of government take place. We cannot shower the Ayatollah with money and economic benefits in the hopes that he won’t use it to inflict terror. This thinking is foolish, dangerous, and backwards.
The program of sanctions and pressure employed by the Trump Administration needs to remain the model for engagement with Iran if we want to ensure the security of the American people and better lives for the Iranian people.
Engagement with the regime will make lengthen the time that the regime has to behave as it has for these past decades denying basic human dignity and opportunity to the Iranian people.
We must continue to support the Iranian people as they fight for a freer and more democratic Iran in any way that we can.
In the end the Iranian people will have a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Republic, I pray that this day will come soon and with the support of Iranians living all around the world – and those who resist from within — that day will come sooner. I am committed to this cause; I know you all are too. May your mission be blessed and protected. May the Iranian people be blessed.
Janez Janša, Prime Minister of Slovenia
Dear participants of the Free Iran World Summit, dear friends, let me first of all emphasize my today’s message to you, dear participants, is the message through you to the Iranian people, to all those watching the event via satellite or online. I just regret not being able to address you in person.
My special greeting goes to the keynote speaker of the summit, the President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
Let me start by saying what I have said many times before, Iranian people deserve democracy, freedom, and human rights, and should be formally supported by the international community. As you know, the European Union has put a range of restrictive measures in place in response to many issues of concern, specifically, this case of the EU restrictive measures adopted in response to serious human rights violations by Iran.
Iranian regime must be held accountable for human rights violations and the international community must be more firm on this. I would also like to address the families of the 30,000 political prisoners who perished during the 1988 massacre, and I send my support to the justice and accountability to the formation of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry into the 1988 massacre.
For nearly 33 years, the world had forgotten about the victims of the massacre. They should change. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry is of crucial importance to shed light on the horrible 1988 massacre. Families of the victims see the Commission of Inquiry so that they could finally obtain justice and closure.
This is especially important in light of the fact that the regime’s next president will be Ebrahim Raisi, who is accused by Amnesty International of crimes against humanity for his role in the massacre. Therefore, once again, I clearly and loudly support the call of the UN investigator on human rights in Iran, who called for an independent inquiry into allegations of state ordered executions of 1000s of political prisoners and the role played by the president-elect as the current Deputy Prosecutor.
Dear friends, I will personally continue being engaged on all these issues of concern. You can always count on my understanding and support. Thank you for your attention.
Several people joined the conference from inside Iran
Several people joined the conference from inside Iran and expressed their support for the Iranian Resistance and pledged their determination to struggle for the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime.
It is worth noting that the regime punishes support for the NCRI and MEK with very heavy sentences, and these people are taking great risks to send live messages to the live event of the Iranian Resistance.
Stephen Harper, 22nd Prime Minister of Canada
As you mark this, the Free Iran World Summit 2021, I am as always pleased to join you from Canada, in what may well be the largest virtual global gathering this year. Many of us are regular attendees of this marquee event, which demonstrates not only the breadth and endurance of opposition to the fascist, religious dictatorship in Tehran, but also the determination to see it replaced.
Friends, the Ayatollah’s government tells many lies. But perhaps even more disturbing are the lies that others repeat on its behalf. One of the biggest lies is that the regime possesses some mysterious faction of so-called moderates. Year after year, we’ve been told that if we handle the regime with kid gloves, we strengthen the position of these so-called moderates, and that this will allow them to rise in the regime, and to change its course.
Of course, this was the philosophy behind the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, not only did the JCPOA leave the mullahs closer to a nuclear weapons capacity than ever before continuing to accumulate enriched Iranian, continuing to work on missile delivery systems, continuing to keep its nuclear facilities operating, continuing to conceal the truth from inspectors. Not only that.
The million spent on the implementation of the JCPOA. We’re used to further develop the reach and the capacity of the terrorist network that the regime supports throughout the Middle East. And the desire of some to renew the JCPOA has so emboldened the regime, that in its latest Sham election, all pretenses of a so-called moderate candidacy were dispensed with.
The government I lead was never fooled by the supposed existence of a phantom moderate faction. Those allowed to run for president of Iran or to hold any office whatsoever must be diehard disciples of the Ayatollah, and his extremist philosophy. Any known moderate is imprisoned or killed. But this year Sham election reached a new low even for this regime. The winning candidate to be clear, not the elected candidate, the chosen winner, did not even pretend to be a moderate.
In fact, Ebrahim Raisi is the very person whom the regime has long entrusted to jail or kill anyone who is actually moderate. In 1988, as one of the four members of the prosecution committee, he ordered the execution of some 30,000 political prisoners. For these actions, he rocketed up the chain of command in the regime, becoming, before his selection as president, the Ayatollah’s Chief Justice.
Let’s be crystal clear. Ebrahim Raisi is a criminal, guilty of crimes against humanity. He is a living symbol of the folly of trying to appease the Ayatollahs regime. Shame on any government in the world that would sit down and try to negotiate anything with an administration led by Ebrahim Raisi.
Friends, while the regime in Tehran has reached these new lows, it’s important to note that in the past year, others in the Middle East have been providing the world with a positive and hopeful example. I speak of the actions of the United Arab Emirates, the governments of Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, the State of Israel, and of course, the United States.
There Ebrahim accords are a remarkable achievement, not simply for establishing peace and diplomatic relations between these nations, but also and more importantly, for showing that faith and the common roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism can be and should be an instrument of reconciliation between people between the peoples of the Earth. What a contrast to the use of religion by the Ayatollah is regime as a weapon of conflict and hate, and what a contrast that is in turn to you in the National Council of Iran, which is one of President Rajavi’s of core concepts, calls for the separation of religion and state, and the freedom of religion and faith, and of course, peaceful coexistence with all other nations.
Friends like you, I believe that the regime is, in fact, weakening. That the selection of an open and bloodstained extremist as president, betrays a regime so worried about its survival, that it dare not risk any shadow of deviation from the Ayatollah’s extremist direction. And like you, I believe that the Iranian people who have suffered more than any other from the tyranny of this theocracy, you’re in more than any other, for it to end and for it to be replaced by the democratic, secular and pluralist forces that the NCRI represents.
Friends, as I’ve said before, keep up the fight for the day of victory is coming. The regime sponsorship of terrorism has only swelled the ranks of its opponents around the world. And its pursuit of nuclear weapons cannot save it from the opposition of its own people. So friends, continue your struggle, keep hope alive, and prepare for the new Iran that will come to pass through your efforts. And thank you for allowing me to be part of this great event once again this year. Merci beaucoup.
John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Hello, friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I want to underline and reinforce what others have already said. It is an honor and a privilege for me today at your invitation to join you at the Free Iran World Summit under the auspices, and thanks to the organization, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. And I want to underline why I regarded it as a privilege to be amongst your number, following Stephen Harper and the others.
I am here in order to express solidarity and support for the people of Iran in the continuing quest and struggle for freedom, democracy, and human rights– human rights, I may say, which so many of us in our own legislatures take for granted, but which the people of Iran have shamefully been too long denied.
And I am here, relatedly, in order to highlight the fact of the suffering of which there is a global awareness and to try based upon my own political experience to be a voice for freedom. So many points have been so powerfully made so frequently in the course of the last couple of hours that I paid the very closest attention to what President Rajavi had to say.
And I am absolutely crystal clear, in my mind, that the Iranian people continue to reject all oppression. And indeed, throughout the protests, of which there have been so many over the decades, I have still ringing in my ears, there’s compelling and forceful slogans down with the oppressor, be it the Shah dictatorship, all that of the [inaudible]. I am here from the United Kingdom in order to back the people of Iran in calling eloquently, calling with principle, and calling persistently for a secular and democratic republic.
It doesn’t matter in the end very much what the form of the dictatorship is, it is the fact of it that counts. And the fact of dictatorship has its consequence in appalling disadvantage, deprivation, and very often destitution for the people who suffer.
So, I am here today to say that I support the call for free and fair and democratic elections which there have not been in Iran of which more and on, and explicitly, with all the force and passion of my command to support the NCRI president’s 10-point plan for the country’s future. And let’s be clear, in a crystallized and succinct form, of what those 10 points are– people’s sovereignty. And what does people sovereignty mean? It means universal suffrage. It means political pluralism. It means the right to choose your leaders. And it means crucially, in a democracy, the right to change your choice of who should be your leader.
Secondly, it means freedom of speech, freedom of political parties, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and freedom of the internet.
Thirdly, it means individual and social freedoms, which are consistent and in accord with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. That declaration is honored at the moment in Iran exclusively in the breach, not in the observance. They don’t respect it in the Arabian government. They have contempt for it. We who believe in individual and social rights are very clear that there should be no death penalty, whereas in Iran, it is applied on a horrendous scale.
Fourthly, we believe, as has already been articulated in the separation of religion and state, that’s the nature and essence of a secular democracy. And we believe in freedom of religion, freedom of worship, and indeed freedom to subscribe to no particular religion at all.
Fifthly, the 10-point plan is about complete gender equality, sex, an independent judiciary and a legal system, which is separate from independent of not bossed around by or subjects to edicts from the central government is of the essence of a free society. Stephen knows that in Canada, I know that in the United Kingdom, colleagues from elsewhere around the world who have spoken or will speak to you are very clear about what an independent judiciary is and what it is not. They don’t have it in Iran and the people want it, thirst for it, clamor for it, demand for it, and deserve it.
Next, autonomy for Iranian nationalities, equal opportunities in employment, in entrepreneurship, and the protection of the environment. I want to underscore one further point, and that is the importance of a non-nuclear Iran.
My sense of it from outside is the expenditure of huge sums of money, of millions upon millions, upon millions, upon millions of pounds to make Iran a nuclear weapons state when people are suffering. The most appalling living standards are a moral outrage.
What we want surely, what the Iranians want, what the world wants is peace coexistence, regional and international cooperation. References have already been made to the 1988 massacre, and that cannot be forgotten or forgiven or shoved under the carpet. What is required is the amnesties call be honored that there should be an investigation of Ebrahim Raisi for crimes against humanity. That man has much for which to answer, and he is the very embodiment of the bloodthirsty tyrant. I am clear, and I want you to know that I think Democrats around the world are clear, that this distinction between hardliners and reformists is a total and unmitigated sham.
t is a public relations contract. It is a devious device to convey the impression that there is hope for a prospect of moderate leadership, which within the context of this fundamentalist regime is not possible, will not happen and can never be there for all the same reformers and hardliners, the game is over. People are not stupid. They know what’s going on. Iran’s government is a state sponsor of terrorism. It is an egregious abuse of human rights. And we in Britain know from the appalling depredations suffered by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe just what contempt the regime has for the rights of individuals and their opportunity to be with their own families. Trumped-up charges, long prison sentences compiled in and exacerbated by further punishments down the line are not the stuff of free and civilized societies. They come from the playbook of the practitioners of state terrorism and dictatorship. And while all of that is happening, my sense is that the people of Iran, they want sanctions to be lifted, because that will help the regime that will do nothing to mitigate or reduce the burdens faced by the people.
One bit has been said about the elections, and therefore, let me say that my understanding from where I am in the United Kingdom is that right across the political spectrum, we are clear that that recent election was totally corrupt, it was meaningless, as an expression of the public will. Above anything else, you had to be a heartfelt subscriber to and demonstrate a practical allegiance in favor of the supreme leader, and no woman could be considered for the presidency. So, the 18th of June mass boycott of the presidential election spoke volumes. It was powerful, it has been noticed, it will make a difference. The regime has been shamed by it, a turnout of below 10%. And deep down, the regime knows that they are– as we would say in my country– on the skids, they are under pressure, they have been sussed, found out, exposed for the lies that they persist in telling.
So, the boycott showed that people reject this, as I say again, sham moderate versus hardliner distinction. And on the subject of Mr. Raisi, about whom Stephen Harper spoke so patiently, that former Chief Justice of Iran hasn’t got the scintilla of a claim to a belief in democracy, in fairness, in pluralism, in the right of the people to choose whatsoever. He was a key player in the death commissions, which massacred 10s of 1000s of people.
So in conclusion, in expressing solidarity and support for the person I call President Rajavi, let me be absolutely explicit. Your message has been heard. It is understood, you have enormous support across the democratic world, for the clarity, the moral principle and the unswerving conviction of your position, which is to say no to dictatorship, no to the Shah, no to theocracy, but yes to democracy.
And as someone who is very privileged to live in a country not perfect and whose government is not perfect, and whose political system is not perfect, but which is free, can I please in concluding empathize with and reach out to you one at all.
Please remember, however miserable you are, however poisonous the government is around, however appalling and grievous the abuse of the rights of the people that you witness, and you know that take place, remember, you are not alone, you have friends. And not least thanks to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, you have growing numbers of friends in touch and communicating with each other across the globe. You have friends, you have allies, you have cheerleaders all over the planet, irrespective of race, irrespective of color, irrespective of creed, irrespective of gender, irrespective of disability, irrespective of friends of orientation.
Believe me, the flame of freedom burns brightly. Sometimes you might fear that it is becoming a dim flicker. But for the most part, it burns brightly. And the desire, the insatiable appetite for freedom beats in the breast of decent people across the world, because it is a natural aspiration, for there to be human autonomy, and the right to choose one’s leaders. That flame of freedom will never be extinguished. Freedom, democracy and equality– those are your values, those are my values. Let’s stick together and make common cause.
Congratulations on the courage, the fortitude, the bravery, and the persistence that you have displayed. People around the world will continue to support you and in due course, hopefully sooner rather than later, I assure you, you will prevail, you will succeed, you will win. And the fascist bigots who oppress you will be hissed out of office.
Thank you very much indeed.
Franco Frattini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy (2008 –2011) & (2002 –2004), European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (2004 –2008)
Much has been said, nevertheless, I would like to start by saying, I’ve been listening to President Rajavi very carefully. Madam President, thank you very much for your words that I consider, as European, a wake-up call for Europe. I can see a wake-up call for the international community as a whole. Why? Because during the years, myself, as the foreign minister or vice president of European Commission, many of my colleagues in European Union, in America, in North America, and elsewhere, have been having contact with representatives of Iranian regime, sometimes so-called reformists, sometimes so-called conservatives.
I can tell you, from my direct experience, no differences at all. I always found one thing, the Iranian negotiators are very good gamblers. They are very capable of trying to hide from their counterparts while sitting at the table, like European councils of ministers, or the United Nation assembly. They are capable of trying to hide what they are doing at the expenses of the Iranian people.
This is a clear point, and this is why it’s so important. What you Madame President Rajavi, we just said, what you have in your heart in your mind, a country that is rich in nature, by now is tremendously poor. It is poor, economically, it is poor because when you don’t enjoy non-negotiable fundamental rights, that country is extremely poor. Because the basic rights, the right to be free to express your opinion, the right to women and men to be equally respected, the right to profess a religion, these are basic rights in your country. Your beautiful country is tremendously poor. This is why it’s so important that you repeat your message that the National Council repeats a message, which is not only of, I would say, hope. I think you will succeed. I’m sure sooner, the better, but you will succeed in getting freedom and liberty for your country. But it’s important now to open the eyes of the international community.
When the Iranian negotiators try to regain ground to bring on the table the European Union negotiators or the P5+1 member countries, they do– and this is my deep conviction only because they use the nuclear deal as the leverage for a recognition of their role in the region. They want to be recognized politically, and this is the point where they should fail. They cannot be recognized as a viable partner, a viable negotiator.
Nuclear is only one element of a general number of issues and the issues that bring me with my mind to the 30,000 political prisoners, to the executions, to the death penalties, and to the deprivation of fundamental freedoms. There is not only nuclear negotiation. And if we fall into the trap to sit around the table and to negotiate again, we just give the regime a legitimation, a recognition of their role.
And their role is unfortunately also the one to destabilize the whole Middle East, especially now, after the election of Mr. Raisi. There was not an election, it was a designation– a designation from the supreme guide. And, frankly speaking, if this was the designation, in my personal opinion, this was a message of weakness, not a message of strength, because designating Mr. Raisi means the regime is going towards more repression, because it’s losing completely its reputation. It is a clear point in international relations. If a given regime is losing its reputation, it has to increase repression to silent the free voice. Fortunately, you are a free voice, a free voice speaking through a network worldwide, but you have to help people of Iran to regain ground and to be able to express their free voice inside Iran.
And when people talk about sanctions, again, in my personal opinion, sanctions are not affecting the free people of Iran, because lifting sanction would represent only to give more money to the regime, not to give more money to the free people of Iran, because it happened recently, during the moment where the sanction had been lifted, what was the result? Poverty, despair, no freedom, exactly the same as the period of time, where the sanctions are enforced. We had to clarify this point, because it is very often used as regime propaganda.
You want the sanction to affect people. It’s not the people to be affected, it is the regime. They are the finances of the regime, it is the corruption of the regime, it is the imbalance distribution of wealth among the people, which is affected by giving more money to the regime. What to do about this increasing threat represented by an aggressive regime and led by a designated president that should be held accountable for having been responsible for thousands and thousands of people executed, people being political prisoners.
First of all, I would like to say thanks to your wake up call to my colleagues in Europe. Should seriously consider not sitting whatsoever around the same table with the Iranian dignitaries. This will be a clear message. I cannot recognize persons who try to sign an agreement, bloody hands. We have been doing things concerning other regimes. We have to be very frank, very strict in respecting our Constitution, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of European Union. Having been myself, also commissioner for fundamental rights, I’ve been made aware in that capacity of the tragedy involving human rights in Iran. And this was the time of the so-called reformist, not the time of Mr. Raisi. Imagine now, what kind of deterioration one could expect.
First message, Europe don’t sit together around the same table to negotiate, don’t legitimize, don’t recognize the legitimacy as a serious interlocutor of a country whose president deserves to be held accountable, tends to an investigation, which is, I would say, encouraged and promoted, but still did not become a reality. So, this is the first message.
The second message. Europe and the West should be absolutely clear on Middle East. Let’s be clear on this stabilizing role of Iranian regime in the whole of the Middle East, in the countries like Syria, by infiltrating the guard, the past around guard to Iraq to destabilize the old region. And these another element to be taken into consideration by those who believe that maybe one day Iran could be negotiating with Arab countries. This is not absolutely the truth. It’s impossible. It is again, the play of the gamblers. They try to hide what is really behind the scene. Behind the scene is sterile, is deprivation of rights.
In conclusion, I think what you are doing now is not only a wake-up call. And the previous speakers already highlighted a number of very important points, but it is an appeal for respecting universal rights. These are not only the legitimated rights of the Iranian people. These are universal rights. A given country does not deserve to be considered a normal banner, a viable country, if the complete denial of universal rights becomes the normality. This is a point. This is the added value of your struggle for rights.
This is the message to us, to Europe, to the west, to those that consider your struggle for right a struggle for non-negotiable position. Never negotiate with those that make of repression, a wave of lives and make of repression in normality in the regime. I’m sure the sooner, the better.
In any case, since you are doing the right thing, the others are on the bad side of the history. They will lose. You will win. Thank you very much.
Donna Brazile, Chair of the Democratic National Committee (2016-2017)
It is a delight to be with you today – or any day.
Today, I join you in solidarity – in this, the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Let’s give a solid round of applause for forty years of survival, thriving, and for the leadership of President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
You know, this gathering is more than a Band of Brothers or a Stronghold of Sisters. It’s a Fellowship of Family. Of a people who believe in human rights and freedom for all.
I am here not just in gratitude for sharing this occasion. I am here in humility.
- The humility that comes from observing your remarkable courage and leadership.
- Humility in watching you stand up to religious tyranny.
- Humility for your firm resoluteness in seeking a secular state.
- Humility for your advancement of human rights.
- Humility in measuring your passion for freedom
- Humility for your quiet embrace of humanity’s equality.
- Humility for your forthright defense of the rights of women and girls.
- Humility for your persistence in seeking a nuclear-free Iran and a nuclear-free world.
Indeed, you are an example for the world – including the United States – to emulate.
Indeed, you have so many friends here in America, and allow me to mention two great patriots who believed in your cause. They were outstanding public servants, a Democrat and a Republican who have supported NCRI.
We should mention these men because – despite their different upbringings, and the current difficulties to bridge political differences in working together – they represented the bipartisan spirit in theUnited States Congress and public life for your efforts.
I knew late John Lewis, the Congressman from Atlanta, Georgia. We missed him,
He was one of ten who spoke at the 1963 historic March on Washington where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. John Lewis was the last of the ten to leave us in 2020. We miss him and continue to mourn his passing.
I want to quote to you from an address John Lewis made at the U.S. Capitol Building to Iranian activists in 2010.
His words are as relevant now as then because his struggle for Civil Rights and human rights was life-long, as it may be for those here present today.
He said this to the gathered Iranian activists:
“I come here to say to you, never-ever to give up, never-ever to give in, and never-ever to lose faith.
I got arrested 40 times, went to jail, beaten, left bloody and unconscious on the Freedom Rides.
“I had a concussion of the brain during the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama on March 7, 1965. But we didn’t give up.
“And people who support the people in Iran and those of you who live and reside here in the United States of America and around the world must, never-ever, give up.
“Continue to press forward for your brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, for your mothers and fathers and grandparents and great grandparents.
“As long as the people of Iran are denied their basic rights as human beings – people all over the world are denied their rights.
When I saw the recent uprising in Iran, it reminded me of some of the non-violent struggle[s] that we had in America for the right to vote and for the right to participate in the democratic process. So, hang in there.”
Let me also share the sentiments of the late Senator John McCain of Arizona — the 2008 Republican presidential nominee and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As many of you know, Senator John McCain suffered for five years at the hands of war enemies when he was a prisoner in Hanoi, North Vietnam. He was a young Lieutenant Commander.
Hanoi offered him an early release from prison, but John McCain refused it. He refused because the release was based on the privilege of his being the son of a four-star Admiral. And indeed, Senator McCain stayed with his men until they were all freed.
President-elect Rajavi, I know you knew John McCain personally too. You had a meeting with him in Albania in 2017. Both of you caught some flak for it.
Proof that no good deed goes unpunished.
John McCain undertook that arduous trip in mid-April of 2017. He underwent brain surgery in early July, a mere two months later.
Senator McCain addressed the NCRI who were meeting in Albania. He said, in part,
“You have stood up and fought and sacrificed for freedom, for the right to live free, for the right to determine your own future, for the rights that are God-given.
“I thank you for being an example, an example to the whole world, that those people who are willing to fight and sacrifice for freedom will achieve it, and you are an example to everyone in the world that is struggling for freedom.”
Senator McCain added, “Someday, we all blood this, some day Iran will be free. Someday, we will all gather in that square.”
This is a good place for me to conclude my greeting. The struggle for self-determination, equality, and Human Rights is often hard, and always, always long. Never give up, never give up.
You should never forget that when you are on the side of universal equality, that you are on the side of truth. As Dr. Martin Luther King taught us — the arc of the moral universe maybe long but it bends toward justice.
Freedom, and I know this, as a women born and raised in a segregated deep south hear in the United State of America. Freedom must be won by the people how yearn to live in a society where everyone, everyone including women and girls, everyone is treated with decency and respect.
I want you to know that the Spirit of Bipartisanship in the current 117th Congress of the United States will continue to support you. We will stand by you. The American people will always stand by those who believe in the universal truth of equality and justice for all.
I want you to know personally that this daughter of the south, This former chair of the Democratic National Party, This women who continue to believe in justice and equality that I am with you – that millions of my fellow Americans are with you – that we will draw inspiration from your courage and your persistence and will stand with you and we will be with you that day we can gather in that square.”
Thank you for your great work,
God bless you.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
It’s my pleasure to speak with you and to thank you all for your enduring commitment and advocacy on behalf of a free and democratic Iran that is prosperous at home and at peace with its neighbors.
Last weekend, we celebrated in the United States the Fourth of July, a joyous occasion to join with family and friends to rejoice in the founding of this great nation, and an opportunity to reflect upon and give thanks for the values and rights expressed so eloquently in the Declaration of Independence. It says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
And that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” These immortal words ring true today as they did 245 years ago, and they apply not only to the people of the United States as we continually strive to achieve a more perfect union, but to people around the world, including to the people of Iran.
Unfortunately, the people of Iran remain blinded with a government that has repeatedly shown no interest in securing anything beyond its own self-preservation, sowing chaos abroad, and corruption and repression at home, seeking a pathway towards a nuclear weapon.
We need look no further than Iran’s recent presidential election, in which Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner crony of the supreme leader, who was subject to US Human Rights sanctions, was elected president. Mr. Raisi won a sham election after the regime cleared the field of any credible challenger, in which a majority of eligible voters showed their disgust by refusing to participate, leading to the lowest voter turnout since 1979.
While it remains clear that the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, remains the ultimate ruler. It is a further indictment of his rule that he would not only endorse, but tip the scales in favor of a man who like Raisi becoming president of Iran, a man who was actively involved in the forcible disappearance and extrajudicial killing of thousands of Iranian dissidents in 1988, a man who was involved in brutal crackdowns against peaceful protesters in both the green movement of 2009, and more recent protests of 2019, a man who Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard recently said must be investigated for crimes against humanity.
In the face of such callous disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people and the risks that Iran under Khamenei and Raisi create to the entire region in the world, your continued advocacy remains absolutely vital. It is a beacon of hope that one day the people of Iran, the United States, and indeed all the world will rejoice in an Iranian government that is at peace with the international community and works to secure a better future for its people.
Thank you again for your hard work. And we continue to stand with you until that day comes when freedom, respect for human rights are being taught once again at the international community that the Iranian people deserve.
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), senior United States senator from New Hampshire
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, like most members of Congress, I’ve been following the developments in Iran closely and with alarm. Human rights abuses have become common with an Iranian government that lacks legitimacy, and whose hold on power is dependent upon the oppression of its people.
The election process is distorted in favor of the regime’s candidate and at the expense of the Iranian people. Further, Iran continues to support and perpetuate violence in its own country and across the region. Despite this, the Iranian people continue to push for a democratic, secular and peaceful Iran. For this, I commend every Iranian and Iranian-American who fights for a better future.
Standing up for a free and democratic Iran is not your burden alone. The United States and the international community stand in support of your efforts. Human rights have long been a pillar of US foreign policy. As we continue to engage Iran, human rights must be a principal part of the US approach.
Congress and the Biden administration have made it clear to Iran and our allies that the United States supports those in Iran who are fighting for the rights and freedoms of all Iranians.
US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), United States Senator from New Jersey
Thank you all very much. It is an incredible honor to be speaking to you at the International Convention for a Free Iran.
This idea, this sacred hope for Iran, which is a hope for all people is that we know that whether it’s in Iran or the United States, we cherish basic rights such as freedom of expression and the freedom to choose your leaders. The culture, customs and history of Iran and its people are incredible. They are truly remarkable. They deserve to be celebrated within Iran and around the world not stifled by authoritarian leaders fearful of their own people.
Like you, I look forward to the day when there is a democratic government in Iran, dedicated to the highest ideals of humanity to safety and security, to nuclear nonproliferation and the basic respect for human rights, gender equality, and religious and ethnic tolerance. These are foundational freedoms not of the United States or Iran, but of humanity. Iran’s history has celebrated those very ideals.
Unfortunately, we know the people of Iran have been denied these rights for far too long, decades now. Iranian people have demonstrated their remarkable resistance. There is a grit and greatness in the people of Iran, and despite the challenges many faced when first arriving in the United States, we’ve seen here, time and time again how Iranian Americans have found extraordinary success across the board. They’ve had tremendous impact on their communities and the broader US society. America is greater because of Iranian Americans.
And yet they continue to hold like so many Americans, a love of their homeland and a celebration of their culture and in this case, the great Persian culture.
I’ve also seen the willingness of Iranians inside their own country to put themselves at great personal risk by engaging in protests, participating in social movements and finding creative ways to defy the authoritarian Iranian regime. Their desire for democracy, for justice, for freedom, outweigh their fear of being injured or taken to jail. The United States is a friend to the Iranian people. I’m so proud of that.
I remain hopeful that we will someday, in fact I remain confident that we will someday see the free and open Iran that we all hope for and dream of.
We want to see Iran’s culture and economy and society thrive, unrestricted by oppressive leaders working constructively on shared problems and peacefully engaging with its neighbors and the rest of the world.
Iran and its people have so much to offer if they are simply given the chance.
I would like to again thank the Organization of Iranian American Communities and specifically the Iranian American Community of New York and New Jersey for inviting me to contribute to this celebration. I congratulate you on the success of this convention, and I stand with you for a Free Iran. I stand with you with the Iranian people. I stand with you for the highest ideals of humanity. May they be real for all God’s children. Thank you.
US Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), senior United States senator for Missouri
I’m Senator Roy Blunt, I’m honored to join you today by video to support all of those who stand for a free and democratic Iran. The current regime in Iran, as you all know, is not simply sustainable or effective as an option for the Iranian people.
Safety and protections are the most fundamental service that a government should provide to its citizens, but the ayatollah and his enablers continue to deny the Iranian people basic political, religious or social freedoms, including the basic right to life itself.
Iranian authorities conduct unimaginable horrors, especially against those who dared to speak the truth. These abuses have to stop. The Iranian regime’s brutal repressions tied to another basic principle of government, the fundamental right of citizens to determine who they are governed by and to elect leaders who support their beliefs and their well-being.
This is not happening in Iran today. By stifling dissident and holding these sham elections, the Iranian government is revealing the truth. It’s deeply afraid of its own people, and the power the ordinary citizen have when allowed to speak up and demand a different future. I’m encouraged by the protests that have taken place in recent years that reflect these very principles of life. I hope we can see them continue.
I truly believe that it is possible to achieve a better, free government in Iran. I believe we have to continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its abuses at home and for its aggressive actions around the world. Every day the regime continues its missile development, support for terrorism, nuclear enrichment and weapons trafficking, we are less safe than we were the day before. I’m proud of the leadership the United States has taken in the last administration to hold this regime accountable for its crimes.
And I’ll continue to urge president Biden to take this approach as well. Thank you again for the opportunity to speak today and support of freedom, stability and democracy. You can be sure that I’ll continue to work across the US government to advance these principles.
US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) United States Senator for Texas
I’m honored today to address the International Convention for a Free Iran. I know that we are deeply concerned about much of what’s happening in Washington, DC. Where the Biden Administration is rushing to dismantle the sanctions against the Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs. The Iranian regime’s malign activities are well known:
Missile proliferation, seeking the destruction of America and our allies including Israel, creating terror states within states in Iraq, in Yemen, in Lebanon. Flooding the Assad regime in Syria.
Funding and directing terrorism across the globe and of course inside Iran, over and over again, committing unthinkable human rights atrocities.
When we are talking about the future of Iran, it is my belief we need to collapse the regime. This used to be a very straight forward and broadly accepted idea.
But six years ago, President Obama entered the United States into the catastrophic nuclear agreement with Iran. As you all know, far to well, the deal put the ayatollah on the path to building a nuclear arsenal. A nuclear arsenal that he would be all too happy to use against us and against our allies.
It also reconnected Iran to the global financial system, and flooded the ayatollah with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, giving them everything they need to launder vast sums of money across the world for terrorism and proliferation. Along side the deal, they sent 1.7 billion dollars in unmarked cash to the ayatollah as part of a ransom for hostages, because the Obama Administration knew how it would look if they implemented the deal without at least some hostages being released.
I urged president Trump to withdraw from this disastrous deal and he did so. Then he took significant and meaningful steps to reverse course and to impose maximum pressure, diplomatically isolating Iran, including taking out Soleimani, a designated terrorist responsible for the deaths of at least 603 American service men and women.
We are now heading into a dangerous chapter with the Biden Harris Administration. They work actively to undermine the national security gains made in the last 4 years and to reinvigorate the ayatollahs. The administration has shown every sign that it intends to and will embrace and appease the regime.
And we are seeing the fruits of that appeasement in the forms of constant attacks by Iran and by its terrorist armies on American forces and our allies across the Middle East. Make no mistake, I will continue leading the fight in the senate to hold the Iranian regime accountable for their malign activities. And to return US policy to one of maximum pressure until this evil and despotic regime finally collapses.
US Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) United States Senator from North Carolina
Hi, I’m Thom Tillis, Senator from the great state of North Carolina. It’s an honor to join you as a champion of a democratic and free Iran.
The recent sham election underscores the need for change. The declared winner and new president of Iran has been involved in interrogation, murder, torture and issuing death sentences for democratic activists and opponents for years.
The ayatollahs installed him because they know their regime is weak and vulnerable. They can hear the calls for freedom grow louder and louder.
They need to crush any dissent, which threatens their rule. We have to side with the Iranian people in their struggle. Your movement has been instrumental in leading and organizing protests. Sanctions should not be lifted, and negotiations with state sponsors of terrorism should always be avoided.
The Obama and Biden administration approach of engaging and appeasing this regime is wrong and misguided.
My colleagues and I in Congress support your cause for a free and democratic republic in Iran that respects human rights and international laws. That’s what the people of Iran want and deserve. That’s why I’m proud to support you.
US Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) former Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2007 to 2011. He is the senior United States Senator for Texas
Hi Friends, I’m Texas senator John Cornyn. I’d like to wish a warm welcome to today’s convention as you continue to fight for a free Iran. America stands in full solidarity with the Iranian people.
And we echo their call for liberty, democracy, and peace. And on the heals of yet another sham election, this changing of the guard can’t be just a blip on the radar.
We must take a unified stance in opposition to the oppression and tyranny that the hardliner Ebrahim Raisi represents.
I continue to urge president Biden to work closely with Congress to identify an effective and bipartisan approach to the threat posed by a nuclear Iran.
Thank you for having me with you today, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your convention.
US Senator Margaret Hassan (D-NH) is the United States Senator from New Hampshire
Hello, I’m Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire. I’m sorry that we couldn’t gather together in person, but welcome to the international convention for a free Iran. Iranian American community has made such important contributions in a whole host of fields and studies show the potential that can be unleashed and the power of what’s possible when we honor the freedom and dignity of all people.
I want to thank everyone here for the work to support the Iranian people. And for advocating for their dignity and freedom. I’m proud to call myself an ally and friend in this fight for freedom. And as evidenced by the bipartisan support of this conference, democrats and republicans join in solidarity with all of you.
I’ll continue supporting an American foreign policy that pushes for human rights and stands with democrat movements in repressive countries. The regime in Tehran must be held accountable for treating women as second-class citizens. And for persecuting human rights advocates, journalists and ethnic minorities. And it specially needs to be held accountable for continuing to support terrorism.
I look forward to working with all of you and with the Biden administration to advance a brighter future for the Iranian people. Thank you again to everyone here.
US Senator Rich Scott (R-FL) is the junior United States Senator from Florida
Hi, I’m Senator Rick Scott, I’m honored to join you for the International Convention for a Free Iran. The regime is a proven adversary and the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. Now Iran’s president-elect is a mass murderer committed to suppressing dissident.
President Biden needs to make it clear that the United States will not ease sanctions and will ensure consequences for the regime’s dangerous actions. The regime should also know that they have an opportunity to become productive members of the world community and bring peace and prosperity to their people.
The choice is theirs. We all want peace, today and every day the United States must align with those fighting for freedom and democracy, clearly denounce terrorism and stand up against those that do not respect human rights.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives
“I’m happy to be with you today to stand in support of a free and democratic Iran.
To the families who have lost loved ones in opposing this regime, I am sorry for your loss, and I share your concerns.
But I have also hope. Hope that America — along with you and our allies — will see a democratic Iran that protects free speech and the rights of all people.
Hope that the dark days of fear under the Supreme Leader will subside, as Iran blossoms into a responsible democratic nation.
Imagine it. A free Iran.
Thank you for striving to make this goal a reality in our lifetime. Together, it can be done.”
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Chair of the US House of Representatives Democratic Caucus
I represent the 8th Congressional District here in New York, and also have the honor of serving as chair of the House Democratic Caucus. I want to thank the invitation for me to participate in this conference, where we are discussing a free secular and non-nuclear Iran.
Iranian Government brutalizes its citizens and exports terrorism throughout the world. And so, I commend you on your courage, on your strength, and on your leadership in helping to bring about a free, secular and a non-nuclear Iran and to give the Iranian people the types of freedoms and liberties that they deserve.
I stand with you. I know that members of Congress on both sides of the ideological spectrum, Democrats, and Republicans and both sides of the Capitol, the House, and the Senate, and the Biden administration also understand the importance of bringing about a free, secular, and a non-nuclear Iran. We want to unleash the brilliance and the talents and the abilities of the Iranian people that are being suppressed by a brutal regime and lift up freedom and liberty for all.
God bless you, God bless your efforts. And of course, God bless the United States of America.
Patrick J. Kennedy, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995 –2011)
Thank you all very much. It’s great to be with you again, even if it’s virtually. As you all know, my uncle President Kennedy wrote a famous book called While England slept, documenting the failure of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler in World War II. He fought against the Imperial dictatorship against Hirohito and his brother, my Uncle Joe, was killed in Europe fighting for the freedom of our allies. He fought and died against Nazi Hitler.
Electing a mass murderer like Raisi shows that Khomeini and his mullahs have given up any facade of moderation. There’s no excuse anymore for denying the truth. We can’t be in denial about what the Mullahs’ regime represents.
The United States State Department ranks Iran Mullahs as the number one exporter of terrorism in the world, the number one violator of human rights of its own people, the number one executioner, and torturer of its own people, as well as sending its agents to Europe, to the United States, Latin America under the pretense of diplomacy to plant bombs in our backyard. Even more, they were also caught red-handed, building a nuclear weapons program after promising the world that they would comply with international treaties.
Thank you, Madame Rajavi. Thank you PMOI, NCRI for exposing these lives of the Mullahs. President Kennedy went to Berlin in his administration to side with the freedom for those who were besieged in Berlin at that time. And as many of you know, his famous words to show his solidarity that Berlin’s fight was all the world’s fight.
He said, [German speech = Ich bin Berliner]. So, I am proud as I have said before at this gathering and others in Farsi to say [man Irani hastam من ایرانی هستم = I am an Iranian].
Pandeli Majko, Minister of State for Diaspora of Albania, Former Prime Minister
Dear friends, it is a pleasure for me to address this grand international conference and congratulate organizing such a gathering, the leadership of Maryam Rajavi and the political movement for Free Iran.
Albania has been in support of those who have been suppressed by the regime in Iran. We express our deep concerns about ongoing human rights violations in Iran.
The government of Albania a time ago expelled the Iranian ambassador in Tehran, as well as three deployments of the Iranian embassy, for their engagements against international law. I consider this very important, the resolution No. 180 on 25 April 2021 of the majority members of US Congress in support of the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular and non-nuclear Republic of Iran.
This resolution raised positive and important steps when the Albanian government expelled Iranian diplomats. It is shameful for the officials of Tehran that in February 2021, Belgium court sentenced Iran’s deployment in Vienna with a maximum sentence for his role in planning to plant a bomb in the middle of Europe.
There are clear proof that the electoral system in Iran is degrading for its own reasons. This system is not producing political leaders now, the Iranian people boycotted the last presidential election.
Raisi, accused of crimes against humanity by international human rights organizations, is elected now as president. I am happy that today I stand by the people who want to be part of the future of Iran. With Maryam Rajavi, there is hope that Iran will take the place that the world deserves in the world.
Lulzim Basha, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Albania
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, it is my honor to address this event on behalf of the Democratic Party of Albania, a member of the European People’s Party and of the International Democratic Union.
The Iranian people’s aspiration for freedom, democracy, and respect for fundamental human rights and liberties has had and will continue to have the full solidarity and support of the Democratic Party of Albania and myself.
The recurring acts of unprovoked aggression and violence by the Iranian government, against its own people, against its neighbors, and against the global community of nations have heard countless lives of Iranian and other citizens in the region and around the world. From torture and murder, to the violent suppression of political manifestations, to harboring aiding and launching terrorist organizations, the Iranian regime has proven that it is willing to break the most essential norms of international order at the cost of innocent lives, and regional stability.
Today’s event, however, confirms that in the face of such malignant adversity, the international community’s resolve to counter these threats is not weakened, but only strengthened.
The Democratic Party of Albania has a clear and outspoken position. We stand firmly against the Iranian regime‘s attempts to illegal and terrorist practices on our soil, and to its structured enterprise to export fundamentalism to Albania and to our region.
We support the Iranian people and their goal for a democratic and non-nuclear Iran. We support the Iranian people’s desire for change, and commend Madame Rajavi and her efforts to offer the people of Iran the perspective of a free, secular and democratic country.
In Albania, we know very well that the price of freedom extols a heavy toll on oppressed nations. But we also know that there is no other path towards a better future than the path of struggle for the fundamental rights of all human beings, for dignity, for freedom, for democracy, and equality before the law.
I would like to thank you, Madame Rajavi and all of you for your sacrifices and efforts for a better future for all the people of Iran. You can continue to count on our full support.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Michèle Alliot-Marie, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France (2010-2011), former Minister of Justice, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Defense
I would like to thank you for the fight you’re leading and what you’re defending in Iran, being democracy and freedom of speech. I hope your values will be heard in the future.
Iran’s election was a show of discontent by its citizens. The world would like to see Iran as a factor of peace and stability. The people of Iran should be able to choose their own destiny.
Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade of the United Kingdom (2016 –2019), Secretary of State for Defence (2010 –2011)
The Iranian people have a proud and distinguished history. Parishes cultural artifacts are scattered around the world’s great museums, including here at the British Museum in London.
Its rich legacy and literature, music, dance and poetry have affected cultures across the world from Omar Khayyam to chess. It pains us to see what it has become in the hands of narrow-minded, bigoted fanatics. Iran’s history did not begin on the 1st of February 1979 with Ayatollah Khomeini’s return from exile in Paris. Iran’s identity was not created by the Islamic Revolution, nor will its future be defined by it. In the meantime, we have to deal with a dangerous, Draconian and destabilizing regime which oppresses its own people and exports, fanaticism, and instability to its own region and beyond.
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini has never wavered in his hatred of the United States, his contempt for the existence of the State of Israel, and his belief in the purity of the Islamic Revolution free from cultural influences from outside. Only half jokingly, to his critics’ claim, that he’s more afraid of McDonald’s than Mossad. Under his leadership, the IRGC has tightened its grip on Iranian society, and especially its economic infrastructure, locking out the opportunity to themselves and to the whole nation that the natural innovation of the Iranian people could bring. None of us have any quarrel with the Iranian people, but with the regime that increasingly oppresses them, that exports violence and instability to its neighbors, and which threatens to provoke conflict through its attempt to become a nuclear weapon state.
It’s a surprising, not to say, troubling phenomenon that so little criticism of Iran’s internal behavior appears in our liberal media. While they’re very quick to condemn neighboring states, such as Saudi Arabia, literally said about the oppression of critics of the Iranian leadership or the fact that so many of Iran’s brightest and best, including many of its media, and political activists, lie languishing in its presence.
The persecution of minorities, the hanging from cranes of young gay men, and it’s forced gender reassignment to largely overlooked by many of those who claim to be champions of human rights of political opponents, and even their family members, often simply disappear. Let me say today, that for some of us, they will never be forgotten. The root of Iran’s exports of instability lie in the ambition of harmony and his cronies to be the leaders not only of Shia Islam, but of Islam itself.
There is a carefully crafted strategy, whose design is to replace national identity with religious fervor aimed at creating a new radicalized generation. In neighboring states like Bahrain, they tried to persuade young men that they are not Bahrainis first with their own national identity, but they are Shia first all in the religions to religious leaders in Iran, rather than to the culture and laws of the nation in which they have been brought up. It is a pattern that is repeated over and over again in the region.
Better examples can be seen, and their willingness to spread division and violence in Iraq and Syria as a means of fostering the ambitions of Iran’s leadership. But their own malign influence is not confined to their immediate neighbors. Even as European countries sought ways to try and finance trade with the Iranian regime, Iranian inspired terror groups are increasing their activities across the European continent. In the Netherlands, two Iranian diplomats were expelled in June 2018 for plotting political assassinations in the country. A bomb plot to target a rally of opposition groups in Paris was foiled by French intelligence. And here in the UK, a terrorist cell with links to Iran was caught stockpiling tons of ammonium nitrate explosives on the outskirts of London at a secret bomb factory.
Iran has been a consistent supporter of US designated Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Palestinian islamic jihad and Hamas. Lebanese Hezbollah remains Iran’s primary terrorist proxy. The group’s General Secretary, Hassan Nasrallah, bluntly declared that Hezbollah gets its money and arms from Iran. And as long as Iran has money, so does Hezbollah. And of course through its proxies, Iran continues both direct attacks on Israel itself and on its real targets in other parts of the world. They give effect to the hatred of the supreme leader for the very existence of these real estates.
How galling It must have been for him to see the signing of the Ebrahim accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Internationally, the great piece of unfinished business is the JCPOA, the attempt to stop Iran becoming a nuclear weapon state.
I always believed that the agreement was fundamentally flawed. It was neither credible nor responsible to see Iran’s nuclear ambitions outside its support and encouragement or its terror proxies. And the original aim of stopping Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state had morphed into a deal merely to put its ambitions on hold for a decade or so, even before the deal was completed. Iran was immediately rewarded for signing and not implementing the agreement by the immediate unfreezing of $150 billion worth of Iranian assets.
The effect of the financial settlement was that Iran got what it wanted in terms of economic relief at the start, with new promises of delivery later on. Repeated breaches of international law on the development of ballistic missile systems begs the question, but if a nation has nothing that it wishes to deliver by such a system, why would it spend so much money at a time of great hardship for its own people on such technology? An agreement with Iran may be possible, but it must take account of Iran’s human rights abuses, its exports of terror, its explicit threat to the security of Israel, and its attempt to destabilize its regional neighbors.
Above all, we must return to the position that we will stop not to delay Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions. Wishful thinking, may be an attractive idea, but it’s a very poor basis for foreign or security policy.
Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of France (2007-2010)
In Iran, we don’t say election. It’s selection. More than half of the people didn’t vote. The new president is a criminal under investigation.
Giulio Terzi, Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy (2011-2013)
For Iran to have a president willing and ready to carry out the most heinous and bloody repressions against any opposition or dissidents a loud warning to western leaders seeking to renegotiate the JCPOA.
European and US governments should not forget the extreme suffering inflicted on the Iranian people whenever they agree to meet with representatives of the regime.
it is high time for European governments to establish a new euro Atlantic front to effectively face the threats coming from Iran.
A good opportunity is the resolution signed by the majority of the US Congress to counter violations of human rights and state terrorism perpetrated by the Iranian government. Bipartisan appeal coming from US lawmakers is a call to collaborate with European allies in order to dismantle the dense network of operatives taking advantage of diplomatic coverage of embassies in our continent.
In these circumstances you should look to the organized and effective democratic alternative with its competent leadership. The pillar of this alternative and its strength and steadfastness’s came about through the Iranians struggle against the Shah’s regime and decide the Shah’s prisons.
Massoud Rajavi said about this regime, from day one he said that the viper does not give birth to a dove and this has been fully demonstrated today. That is why the regime does everything it can to eliminate the MEK and NCRI.
Martin Luther King III, Human Rights Advocate and Son of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Thank you for introducing me and for making my participation in this conference possible. I thank the organizers of the 2021 convention for a free Iran and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, for your ongoing commitment and your visionary leadership in support of human rights, social justice and democracy.
I am honored that you have invited me to address this historic conference. I am inspired by the vision, courage and dedication of the pro-democracy and human rights movements in Iran. Your freedom coalition, which includes more than 500 organizations and leaders, has persisted with extraordinary dedication against overwhelming oppression, brutality and injustice in Iran.
I am concerned about human rights and the freedom struggle in Iran partly because Iran is one of the largest nations of the world. Only 17 nations have more people, and Iran has more people than any European country.
But the main reason I am concerned about what is happening in Iran is because, as my father, Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And that remains one of the compelling truths of our times.
And yet, despite the terrible legacy of oppression that the Iranian people have suffered for so many years, I have tremendous confidence that their freedom struggle will prevail. The people of Iran will prevail because their cause is just, their courage is strong, and their vision of a better society is a powerful moral force for democracy and human rights.
And so, I wholeheartedly support legislation in the U.S. congress to promote freedom and human rights in Iran. House resolution 118, which expresses the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear republic of Iran, also condemns violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian government. This important legislation now has nearly 240 sponsors, and I call on every member of the United States Congress to join in sponsoring this bill.
In addition, I strongly support the ten-point plan for Iran’s future, developed by Maryam Rajavi and other leaders who are resisting the dictatorship in Iran. The stated goals of this plan include genuine democracy and self-determination for all Iranians; freedom of speech and association; ending the death penalty; religious freedom for all Iranians; eradicating discrimination based on gender; establishing an independent judicial system and compliance with the universal declaration of human rights; equal employment opportunities; an end to development of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction; and a commitment to peaceful coexistence.
These reforms can help chart Iran’s course toward a new era of hope and progress for all of the people of Iran, and they merit the support of people of good will everywhere.
People in Iran and in every nation want freedom, human rights and democracy. And the United States should lead the way in supporting these legitimate aspirations. It is my hope that not only the U.S. Congress, but also the American people will join in supporting this great cause.
I am encouraged by the nonviolent uprisings of the resistance movement in Iran, the boycott of the sham “elections” by a large majority of Iranians and the growing support the Iranian Resistance has received from the international community. The Iranian freedom movement is gathering strength daily, and with the continued support of people of good will around the world, the Iranian people will win freedom and real democracy in due course.
And, as we build the great global coalition in support of freedom, dignity and human rights in Iran, let us embrace the awareness that we are all sisters and brothers in the human family. We are called by our many faiths and philosophies to look out for one another. We are challenged to support our mutual struggles for freedom, justice and equality. And our grand strategy must be to create the world-wide ‘beloved community,’ in which all people can live together in peace and prosperity.
In closing, I was gratified by Maryam Rajavi’s “I have a dream” speech, which affirmed solidarity with my father, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of a world where all people can live together in justice, equality and peace. And today, I want you to know that my father’s dream of hope and brotherhood and sisterhood very much includes the people of Iran.
And so, let us dare to dream of a world where no Iranian child goes to bed hungry at night, a world where every Iranian family has decent shelter, employment for their breadwinners and educational opportunities for its young people. Let us dare to dream about a new era, when the weapons of mass violence are replaced with the plowshares of renewal.
Thank you and may God continue to bless you all.
Congressman Brad Sherman, (D-CA), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Iran is the home to humanity’s first human rights document, the Cyrus Cylinder. But today the Iranian people are forced to live under an autocratic and corrupt regime that targets its own people and is the chief state sponsor of terrorism internationally from Syria to Lebanon to Gaza to Europe to South America and across the globe. We must not forget what this regime is and what it has been capable of doing.
The world should not forget the mass murders carried by the Iranian regime in 1988. It was in July of that year that Ayatollah Khomeini issued the bloody order to annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately. Executions of thousands continued for months, with hundreds of people hanged each and every day before being buried in mass unmarked graves. Today, we know that as many as 30,000 political prisoners had their lives taken from them. They lost their lives because they supported the dream of a free Iran.
I am a lead democratic sponsor of House Resolution 118, a resolution supporting the people of Iran and their desire for a democratic secular and nonnuclear future. This resolution also condemns the current Iranian regime’s systematic human rights violations and its state sponsor of terrorist acts against America, Iranian dissidents and others.
In addition to that resolution, in February Congressman McClintock and I led a letter addressed to President Biden, urging him to work with our allies, including particularly our partners in Albania and other Balkan countries, where Iran has expanded its presence, and to hold the regime accountable for breaching its diplomatic privileges and to call on nations to work to prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions. The regime of Tehran uses violence and espionage to target its own people at home and abroad. A prosperous Iran must begin with a peaceful Iran, where the Iranian people’s freedom and human rights are restored. We must work toward a secular, nonnuclear and democratic Iran where these goals can become realities.
But there is some hope that the regime will soon be on its last legs. We saw how the Iranian people boycotted the recent elections. They were not fooled by the desperate attempt to distract them from the regime’s corruption. There are so many around the world who stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and who are working for a new chapter in that great nation’s history. This new chapter will be written by Iranians, not Americans. Democracy will come to Iran from Iran, not from foreign military intervention. But we must support the Iranian people as they fight for democracy.
I want also to take this opportunity to recognize the inspiring work of Madame Rajavi. She has shown her unwavering support for democracy, for women’s rights and minority rights in Iran. All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms. These rights are not limited to just some of us. They belong to everyone, including the people of Iran. I remain dedicated to helping those who are trying to achieve democracy in Iran.
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA), the House Judiciary Committee
Hi everybody. I’m Congressman Tom McClintock of California.
America has just celebrated the 245th anniversary of our Independence from a tyrannical king who trampled on the fundamental right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is the birthright of every human being. We look upon July 4, 1776 as the day we took back our freedom, our dignity, and our future.
I believe such a day is fast approaching for the people of Iran, and that centuries from now, a free, prosperous and happy nation will look back to you – to each of you in this convention today – and to so many more fighting for Iran’s destiny at home and abroad – with the same gratitude and thanksgiving and reverence that Americans look back on our founding freedom fighters.
We call it the “Spirit of ‘76”, the compelling desire and will to throw off the bonds of tyranny and secure for our children the blessings of liberty. Nowhere in the world today is that Spirit of 76 stronger than it is right here and right now. You can see it – you can feel it – in the many rounds of protests in over 100 cities across Iran since 2017. But, if we fail to hold the current regime to account, there is no telling what it may decide to do next about those who desire such basic freedoms.
Iran is one of the oldest and greatest civilizations in history, but it has been suppressed and plundered by a clique of theocratic thugs that comprise the illegitimate Iranian government. In past eras, the Iranian people have known the happiness and prosperity that freedom makes possible and are now seeking to reclaim it.
This is why I am pleased to announce today that 249 members of the United States House of Representatives – A solid majority of the entire House and made up of Republicans and Democrats — have co-sponsored House Resolution 118 – Expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran and condemning the violations of human rights and state sponsored terrorism by the Iranian Government.
I have written to President Biden to call attention to this resolution and urge his Administration that the United States must hold Iran’s corrupt regime accountable for its crimes against its people and its continued sponsorship of global terrorism.
Recently, the Biden Administration has considered reentering the disastrous nuclear deal that lifted sanctions against the world’s largest sponsor of global terrorism and allowed it to develop nuclear weapons with no meaningful oversight. Thankfully, the Iranian people have resisted nuclear adventurism and have pushed for a non-nuclear country. It was the Iranian resistance that first blew the lid on the regime’s illegal nuclear sites and weapons programs. These are realities entrenched in the Iranian people’s psyche and stamped with their countless sacrifices in over a century of struggle for a secular, representative democracy.
This resolution conveys the sense of an overwhelming majority of Congress that Iranian rulers must be held accountable for their unrelenting destructive behavior and that the United States must pursue a clear eyed and fact-based policy approach to dealing with the Iranian regime. H.Res.118 emphasizes that the world stands with the freedom fighters of Iran and against the tyrannical rulers who have devastated the country and the Middle East through terrorism and brutality.
This House resolution comes ahead of the recent election of Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, a criminal who has committed egregious human rights violations against political opponents, journalists, and anyone else who dares to oppose him. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Raisi was part of the four-member “death commission” responsible for the 1988 massacre whereas many as 30,000 political prisoners were murdered, most of whom were involved with the Iranian opposition movement.
To date, the Iranian government continues to deny this atrocity and still frequently calls upon the Revolutionary Guard to wage violence against peaceful protesters and political dissidents, which is why our resolution acknowledges this massacre and calls for long overdue accountability of current senior Iranian officials who sanctioned this death committee.
H. Res.118 details a picture that many in the global community have come to refer to as “an ongoing crime against humanity” in Iran – where thousands are regularly and arbitrarily detained, tortured, assaulted and murdered without due process of law or regards for their God given, inalienable rights.
Although, as the Iranian regime has become more oppressive and extreme, the international resistance to them has become stronger and more resolute. The more the story of Iran is told, of its proud ancient heritage of freedom and civilization, and of its current curse of despotism and terror, the more the world has rallied to its cause.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Iran’s rulers are beginning to fear this resistance. During the massive opposition protests in late 2018, authorities shut down the internet for more than a week to suppress information about the protests and related state violence. When silencing protesters wasn’t enough for them, they killed them in the streets.
Despite domestic and international acknowledgement of Iran’s oppression, the regime has remained intent on provocation and destabilization. They attack foreign oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and continue using embassies as fronts to plot terrorism.
This regime has made clear that it intends to break any agreement, tell any lie, and commit any atrocity to obtain nuclear weapons and once acquired, to use them against peaceful countries throughout the world. Short of a devastating war, the only thing that will stop them is the Iranian people rising up to overthrow them.
So you are not only fighting for the freedom of Iran, you are fighting for peace throughout the world.
When America won its freedom 245 years ago, one of our Founders, John Adams, said, “Whatever may be our fate, be assured that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure. It may cost blood. But it will stand. And it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present, I can see the brightness of the future as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious day – an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it… On its annual return, they will shed tears…not for subjugation and slavery … but of exultation, gratitude and joy.”
Such a day will dawn – and dawn soon – for the Iranian people, who will look back through the generations to the struggle that each of you are now waging. They will know that it was your sacrifices that reclaimed their birthright to liberty, prosperity, and happiness. Let us strive to see that day.
Congressman Joe Wilson (R.), U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Greetings to my Iranian American friends and people from across the world who are participating in the “2021 Free Iran Online Conference.” I am Joe Wilson, a member of congress from South Carolina’s a great admire of people of Iran.
As a member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, I am deeply concerned about the Iranian regime’s malign activities and murderous agenda. Year after year, the Iranian regime is a serial perpetrator of gross human rights abuses and remains the number one state-sponsor of international terrorism.
The world is right to be concerned about the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, but it is also should be critical that we acknowledge that Iran’s mullahs also rely on terrorism against the citizens of Iran and terrorism against the international community to survive. It is no longer a secret that they use terrorism as a leverage in their international dealings and have been using diplomats to plan terrorist activities. And certainly, indiscriminate killing of innocent people who are demanding their basic rights inside Iran, speaks to the brutality but also the weakness of the regime. Which betrays the extraordinary cultural heritage and the talented citizens of Iran.
My friends, I urge you and my colleagues in United States Congress to remind the world that Iranian people want a secular, democratic and non-nuclear republic. This is the message of Iran’s vibrant resistance units and the message of House Resolution 118, of which I am a proud cosponsor. I was also grateful to introduce H.R. 2117, the Iran Human Rights and Accountability Act, this Congress. This legislation would hold top prison heads and IRGC officials accountable for their arbitrary detainment and abuse of Iranian citizens. The goal of improving human rights for Iranian people has never been more urgent given the murderous history of Hassan Rouhani’s successor, Ebrahim Raisi.
Thank you for your encouragement and thank you to Madam Rajavi, for your leadership, and your dedication on making such difference for a secular, democratic, in broad positive features for all the people of Iran.
Congressman Dean Philips (D) has represented Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives
I’m an original cosponsor of House Resolution 118 because the Iranian people have been deprived of fundamental freedoms for far too long.
The Iranian people deserve the right to vote to be confident that elections are free and fair, and to experience gender, religious, and ethnic equality
The human rights and democratic freedom of Iran are very important issues to me, and they are some of my top priorities. I’ve long been a supporter of the Iranian people for a free Iran and strongly support an Iran that is democratic and secular.
We want a free Iran, and we want the democracy that is necessary to empower the women children youth and families to say enough is enough we demand democracy.
You are a free and democratic organization who brings about the idea of freedom.
Congressman Steve Cohen (D the U.S. Representative from Tennessee’s 9th congressional district
Dear Friends at the “2021 Free Iran Conference in Support of a Secular, Democratic, Nonnuclear Republic Iran”
Thank you for inviting me to share a message with you today. I’m Congressman Steve Cohen, and I represent the Ninth Congressional district of Tennessee.
As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, the human rights and democratic freedom of Iran are very important issues to me and are some of my top priorities
I have long been a supporter of the Iranian people for a Free Iran and strongly support an Iran that is democratic secular and non-nuclear
I will continue to support your work in Congress to promote these important values in Iran.
I will work with my colleagues and the Biden-Harris administration to continue our progress on Iranian human rights. We cannot let perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Iran go unpunished.
I look forward to communicating with the Iranian American community members to hear about their priorities. Please feel free to reach out to the Caucus to connect with members of Congress and to update U.S. leaders on important information about Iran.
I welcome President Biden’s efforts to make Human Rights and Justice key components of America’s engagement with the world. It is important for all of us to work together to reaffirm the United States’ and Congress’s commitment to human rights.
As you may know, I am an original cosponsor of House Resolution 118, which condemns Ayatollah’s human rights abuses and holds Iran accountable for using its embassies and supposed diplomats to plan or commit acts of terrorism.
This resolution is bipartisan, with over 250 members of Congress cosponsoring it, and reaffirms the House’s commitment to holding the Iranian government accountable for its oppressive, despotic, fundamentalist, misogynist, and terroristic rule.
In November(2019), many Iranians took to the streets in over 100 cities to seek justice and demand basic human rights.
The regime’s response to the unarmed protesters with indiscriminate force was disgraceful and resulted in many injuries. Governments that respond to peaceful protests in this way must be held accountable.
The Iranian people deserve a government that respects their fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech and assembly, gender and religious equality.
Due to the resilience of the Iranian people and all the wonderful work you do, I am hopeful of the progress that lies ahead.
I commend and support Mrs. Rajavi’s works in fighting for a free Iran and paving the way to support the people of Iran and their democratic aspirations. I look forward to continuing working with all of you on creating a free and open Iran.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, U.S. Representative for Texas’s 18th congressional district
This conference is so important that in the midst of my duties here in the United States Congress in the 18th congressional district. I thought it was so very important to salute, the 2021 free Iran conference because we want a free Iran and we want the Democracy that is necessary to empower the women children youth and families to say enough is enough, we demand democracy. Thank you, sister Maryam Rajavi. Who is stood with her 10-point plan to lay out the role of that Iran should be playing and protecting Iranian citizen. Thank you for those who stood for Camp Ashraf and all of the camps that were detrimental to the people of Iran.
I am excited about the fact that you’re holding this conference. Let me thank the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who understands the value of Human Rights and your fight? You should never give up your fight. The late John Lewis, who came here with me, understand that the people who are dissident standing for democracy should never give up, never give out. And never give in you who are resisting, must never give up. Never give out and never give in. thank you to my sister for the opportunity for the world to see. I was glad to be part of the fight to take you and the organization off of the terrorist list, we made that fight and we were successful, you are a free and Democratic organization who brings about the idea of freedom.
I was glad to support HRS 118 to be able to ensure that the world knows the story of the freedom fighters in Iran not violent but fighting for democracy and it is important that our president, President Joe Biden and the vice president Kamala Harris have stood up for human rights. Republicans and Democrats have stood on the record of knowing what an important message you have Mrs. Rajavi. Thank you for leading. Thank you for being unafraid. Thank you for bringing us together. You must stand United because a house divided against itself, just like in the United States will never stand.
We are the United States of America standing with those who believe in democracy in Iran. It is so important again to re-emphasize I honored I am to be here at the 2021 conference. I am sorry, I cant be with you, but I am here in spirit and I am here to be able to commemorate celebrate salute, and honor that democracy be spread around the world that free people are able to speak about Freedom that you’re not denied. If you are a dissident, if you want change Iran should understand that the change is non-violently coming, it is coming because of young people are willing to stand up for democracy and their reading and understanding the 10-point plan so let me close and simply say, it is an honor to be able to stand with you. Those who love democracy.
I love democracy just a few weeks ago in the United States of America. We announce my legislation that was introduced to create Juneteenth, what is Juneteenth? It is acknowledgement that we had slaves in the United States but that they were free. It is about Freedom emancipation and Liberation. That is what I believe in. So as you do your conference in 2021, I hope that you will speak to the issues of Liberation emancipation and freedom for the people of Iran who want freedom and they want democracy, we will get that because you can never deny a free people their right to democracy.
Thank you madam Maryam Rajavi for your leadership and all that you do as a leader of the Free People of Iran. God bless you and a free Iran. And God bless the United States of America.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R.) representative for Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district
Hey, everyone. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick here, and thank you for inviting me to your 2021 Free Iran Global Summit. As a cosponsor of House Resolution 118, which expresses support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular and nonnuclear Republic of Iran and condemns violations of human rights and state sponsored terrorism by the Iranian government, it is an honor to speak with you today.
And as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I believe that the United States must always speak with one voice in support of freedom and liberty. We must be clear in supporting the rights of Iranians to choose their own future, which is critical now more than ever following decades of appeasement and concessions that have made Iran the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. America and our allies must make it clear to Tehran that certain violent action against those who peacefully assemble to demand change will result in the application of further targeted sanctions against the regime and its terrorist proxies.
In the days following November 15th of 2019, the Iranian government cracked down on protests, leading to the death of 1,500 protesters, the bloodiest anti protest crackdown since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Iran’s mounting aggression against their own people and their direct and imminent threat to Americans serving in critical missions abroad cannot be ignored. Responses by our service men and women to attacks on the U.S. and our allies by Iranian-backed militias are a necessary deterrent and remind Iran that the proxies and our adversaries around the world that attacks on U.S. interests will not be tolerated. We must hold the Iranian regime accountable for its dangerous and provocative actions that threaten Israel, threaten the Middle East and the entire world.
We must also call for an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran. In 1988 the Iranian regime slaughtered over 30,000 prisoners. Three member death commissions were established across the country to facilitate the assassination of political prisoners that refuse to abandon their beliefs. These victims were buried in unmarked mass graves and under international law, the Iranian regime must guarantee the families of victims their right to know the truth about the fates and the burial places of their loved ones.
Today I am proud to join you in support of a democratic Iran enjoying basic human rights and as a cosponsor of House Resolution 118. Know that I will always have your back and will continue to promote a free Iran throughout my entire tenure in Congress. Thank you and God bless.
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D) U.S. Representative for California’s 27th congressional district
Hello. I’m Congressmember Judy Chu from California’s 27th Congressional District, and I’m so proud to join with my Iranian American friends and constituents at this year’s Free Iran Virtual Conference. For years, I’ve been proud to stand with you in the fight for human rights and democracy in Iran, and each year this conference sends a powerful statement to Iran’s leaders that their repression and violence are unacceptable.
But instead of heeding your repeated calls for human rights, peace and democracy, Iran’s leaders have continued to respond in their usual way, through terror. Iranians who were brave enough to speak out have been tortured, beaten, waterboarded, shocked and more, and they even tried to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering. Fortunately, the would-be terrorist was caught and convicted. But these repressive and brutal responses show why we must stand up to Iran’s leaders, and that is why I was so proud to be a cosponsor of House Resolution 118.
This critical resolution condemns Iranian state-sponsored terrorist attacks and expresses support for the people of Iran who are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against the Iranian regime. I am proud that this resolution has 246 bipartisan cosponsors already, which is the majority of the House of Representatives. Having such a large bipartisan bill condemning the Iranian government’s support for terrorism sends a clear signal to the people of Iran that they are not alone.
That message is especially important now as one of Iran’s most brutal killers, Ebrahim Raisi, was just elected president in an election that was neither fair nor free. Instead of trusting the Iranian people to choose their own leaders, Iran’s guardian council manipulated the election to clear the way for the man responsible for mass murders in 1988. Thousands died by his orders and yet instead of being held accountable, Raisi has been put in a position of greater power over others. This is deeply troubling for all Iranians but especially women, minorities, those who fight for free and fair democracy and all who respect human life.
That is why it is more important than ever that we continue to speak out against this state led violence and why we need resolutions like House Resolution 118 to let Iran’s leaders know that we are watching and to let the people of Iran who fight for freedom and democracy know they are not alone.
The Iranian people deserve to be free from the harsh and violent rule of Iran’s mullahs and the world deserves to feel safe from Iranian support for terror and violence. I support your work to establish a free and democratic Iran that works with the U.S. and others to build a safer world. So thank you all for your important work to promote human rights and a more free Iran.
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2019-2020)
Mrs. Rajavi, honorable colleagues, elected representatives from around the world, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great privilege for me to be here with you today.
I feel very honored that you’ve invited me to take part. As we’ve heard from so many speakers this afternoon, the promotion of Ebrahim Raisi to the presidency after a sham election signals that the regime has no intention of altering its antagonistic approach to the international community.
Nothing in their public statements give any indication that the Mullahs have any intention of bringing to an end their sponsorship of violent militias around the region, nor to their nuclear activities. Groups such as Amnesty International have expressed the greatest concerns about Mr. Raisi‘s elevation. Citing evidence of his involvement in the horrific mass killings of 1988, which saw thousands of political prisoners murdered. The promotion of Mr. Raisi should not be rewarded by sanctions relief.
In its fifth report on the UK’s relationship with Iran, my colleagues on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee stressed the Iranian government’s appalling human rights record. Many UK Members of Parliament have called for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to use its Magnitsky sanctions regime to impose targeted punitive measures on officials like Mr. Raisi, where there is credible evidence of their involvement in serious, systematic human rights abuses. This new global human rights sanctions system is already in use in relation to some other countries, and Iran should not be exempt. Mr. Raisi should not be exempt.
I fear that his appointment is likely to make the human rights situation even worse. My British Iranian constituents have told me that they view this latest development as indicating that the regime wants to tighten its chokehold on the people of Iran. The huge attendance at this online conference is a sign once again that there are 10s of 1000s of Iranians who want a better future for their country, where there is respect for the rule of law, equality between men and women, and respect for human rights. One which is based on the principles of freedom, democracy and equality, as highlighted by Mrs. Rajavi in her speech earlier today. I know that there are many who are prepared to endure great sacrifices to bring about change.
Returning to that report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, my colleagues call for the prescription of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard call. This important move is one that I too have been advocating for some years, and I reiterate that day. As the report points out, the IRGC are clearly responsible for violence broke bloodshed and suffering in Iran.
The committee concludes that the prime victims of the Iranian regime are the Iranian people. They call on the UK government to continue to express support for those suffering under the violence of the regime. This free Iran summit offers me the opportunity to do that.
I joined many other speakers at this massive event in encouraging the UK Government and the international community as a whole, to engage with the NCRI as an opposition grouping capable of offering a viable democratic alternative for the people of Iran.
I will start with all of those who want a democratic and free future for Iran and I will continue to advocate for human rights, respect for the rule of law, democracy and justice until Iran is free. Thank you.
General (Ret.) James L. Jones, National Security Advisor to President Obama (2009-2010), former USMC Commandant, Supreme Allied Commander Europe
It’s an honor and a privilege to be joining you in the Free Iran World Summit this year. President-elect Maryam Rajavi, honorable guests, from all indications Iran has gone through this seminal transformation, much of the chagrin of the medieval tyrannies apologists, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei engineered the election of one of his most loyal and ruthless cronies, Ebrahim Raisi, to the presidency.
Raisi has risen through the ranks of the regime through barbaric murder and suppression, and became president of the regime this year through a sham election in a fraudulent process. The people of Iran boycotted the regime’s elections because they know it is an unfair and undemocratic process with a horrendous outcome. That even according to the regime’s exaggerated figures of less than 20% cast their ballots in Tehran goes to show that this regime does not have an iota of legitimacy among the Iranian people.
The election also put an end to the false narrative of the regime itself and its western apologists found the world for more than four decades of concessions and turning a blind eye on the Mullahs excesses at home and abroad is necessary to empower the so-called moderates within the ruling clique. As millions of Iranians chanted during the 2017 and 2019 nationwide uprisings, “Hardliners reformers, the game is now over.” Indeed, if the past is prologue, the policy pursued so far only strengthened the most ruthless and radical factions of this regime to the detriment of the Iranian people and regional peace and stability. The Resistance Unites MEK activists in Iran should be commended for their effective work inside Iran to encourage the people of Iran to reject this regime.
Mrs. Rajavi, your call for the boycott was heard loud and clear. Through their boycott, the Iranian people made it palpably clear that they will not be satisfied with anything less than the overthrow of this medieval theocracy, and all of its factions. Raisi’s selection also showed how weak and frail this regime has become.
During this process, Khamenei could not even trust his closest confidants like Ali Larijani, who for 12 years, was the head of the regime’s parliament. He was a secretary of the regime supreme security council, and who is now a personal adviser to Khamenei, and a special representative on foreign missions, including the deal with China.
Khamenei could not only trust someone like Raisi, a mass murder and genocidal madman who has been involved in some of the regime’s most heinous crimes. In 1988, Raisi was a member of the death committee that oversaw the execution and mass murder of over 30,000 political prisoners across Iran. The victims were buried in mass graves and their families know nothing about their fate. They were executed for their belief in democracy, and the overwhelming majority of them were members and supporters of the principle MEK.
In his first post-election news conference, Raisi, who was known as the henchmen of 1988 by the Iranian people, said he was proud of committing these crimes against humanity, and that he should be commended for protecting the regime.
The outcome of the election is an indication of what the Iranian resistance has been saying for the past four decades, that this regime is incapable of reform, and that no amount of political and economic concessions will moderate his behavior. It is somewhat inconceivable that the West does not condemn this international criminal. What more does he need to do to deserve condemnation from democratic countries? Already, leading human rights institutions and top UN Human Rights experts have called for an imperial investigation into Raisi’s role in the 1988 massacre.
Why the silence? It is time to end the culture of impunity for Tehran’s mass murderers. Enough is enough. It is disgraceful and shameful that Tehran continues to enjoy impunity some 30 years after the 1988 massacre, the massacre of at least 1,500 protesters in November 2019.
We should stop appeasing the theocratic regime in a futile quest for moderates or reformers. The genocidal regime cannot be reformed or moderated, as the rise of Raisi has shown us. Raisi’s determinants to the regime’s presidency approves once and for all, the change cannot come from within the regime, but only from the people themselves.
So, when one looks at the Iranian political landscape, one inevitably recognizes that there are only two forces arrayed against one another: the Mullahs, the NCRI, and the MEK. In other words, there is an organized and highly effective opposition, the NCRI led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, which offers a truly democratic and viable alternative. This is an alternative that not only enjoys support at home, but also our growing international legitimacy. Freedom is advancing both inside and outside of Iran.
The international community must support Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point plan, which calls for a free democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic in Iran. The people of this one’s proud country deserve nothing less.
Linda Chavez, Director of the Office of Public Liaison
It is such a pleasure to be with you, Madame Rajavi. I wish that we could be together as we were in 2018. I remember those days outside of Paris in the suburbs, when you literally had 100,000 people coming to support your efforts to overturn the regime in Iran. And we were excited, we were joyous, we were there willing to confront the regime on various issues.
And little did any of us know at the time that while we were there, in Villepinte, that the regime’s tentacles had reached out and were plotting to have a mass terrorist attack on that event. It has been three years since that event. And during that interim, the people who were involved in planning that attack had been arrested and had been brought to trial. And I was very proud to be one of the persons who filed suit against those perpetrators about attempted terrorism.
And they have now been sentenced with the organizer, the diplomat, an actual diplomat of Iran, sentenced to 20 years, and others getting sentences from 15 to 18 years. I bring that up, because I think it’s important to understand that Iran does not just persecute its own people within its own borders, but its reach goes global.
The regime is able to reach out and to assassinate those who disagree with it. They send out their propagandists to attack Madame Rajavi and the POMI. They are on the assault constantly to try to keep those who want to bring democracy to Iran in check.
We heard from General Jones and from others throughout the day of the incredible consequence of a sham election this year in Iran, in which an actual butcher was elected. This is not a man whose hands are dipped in blood. This is a man whose whole body has been dipped in the blood of martyrs for freedom in Iran. And it is a striking commentary how little we have heard from Western countries about the election of this man. He is not somebody that reasonable governments, the democratic government, should deal with. This is not someone who is a representative of the people of Iran. He is simply a representative of the Mullahs and their ironclad control.
So, what can be done? Well, I think the 1000s of people who are watching this event, who are participating in this event, in places throughout the world, can in fact, do something. And that something is to endorse the program that Madame Rajavi has been talking about for over a decade. And that is the 10-point plan that would bring the kind of stable democracy to Iran that all of us support a democracy that gives equal rights to men and women that does not impose a state religion but allows people to express their faith as they choose, that allows a judiciary to act independently and in which there are free and fair elections.
And finally, I would say that particularly given the question about a nuclear Iran that is on the table now with the United States having withdrawn from the agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons, Iran is now in pursuit. And they are making no bones about it. They are being very outspoken in their desire to be able to create the ability to create nuclear weapons.
This is an affront, not just again to the people of Iran, but to the entire world. So, I would say the time is now, the time is now for those who support freedom in democracy in Iran to rise up to make their voices heard. And for those of us in the West, who already enjoy those freedoms, to stand with those who are, in fact, the beacons of freedom for the people of Iran.
Thank you so much, Madame Rajavi for once again pulling us all together, and I am hopeful that the next time it is not simply on camera, but that we are able to see each other face to face and to support your valiant efforts. Thank you so much.
Secretary Deborah Lee James, Former US Secretary of the Air Force (2013-2017)
To the participants of the Free Iran World Summit 2021, to President-elect of the National Council of Resistance, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, and to the millions more who are listening in Iran and around the world, including, and I might add, the mostly female led resistance units. I want to begin by thanking all of you for your dedication, your devotion and your commitment to the cause of a secular, democratic and non-nuclear Iran. I also want you to know that the government of the United States stands with you, the people of the United States stand with you, and— I, as a former Secretary of the US Air Force, a mother, a daughter and a sister— I also stand with you.
My friends, I hope you are feeling tremendous pride at this point in your history, you certainly should feel that pride, for working courageously and working together, you today form the backbone of a growing and powerful resistance to the corrupt regime in Tehran—a resistance that– with your perseverance– will never ever be silenced. So I urge you to take heart and be encouraged, for you have accomplished an enormous amount in a very short period of time. Most recently, thanks to your collective efforts and to the leadership of Mrs. Rajavi, you sent a powerful message to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei and his cronies. That message quite simply was: WE SHALL NOT TAKE PART IN YOUR SHAM ELECTION!
Your successful boycott of the June 18, 2021, election, which of course came on the heels of four years of popular protest, these events showed the world, and they showed the regime in power that the Iranian people are fed up, fed up with the broken promises, the economic incompetence, the systemic corruption, the disrespect for human rights and the misogynistic treatment of the women of Iran.
If I may, let me reflect for just a moment on that last point, the misogynistic treatment of the women of Iran. How ironic that the leaders of Iran treat women as less than equals—when it is this resistance movement, led by a woman and comprised of 50 percent women—this is the very movement that will ultimately bring them down! And what a day of justice that would be.
My friends, it is precisely due to your success that the regime in Iran is currently feeling increasingly threatened. That’s in part why the June 18 vote was manipulated to elect Ebrahim Raisi—a man who is more than willing to oppress the Iranian people in an even more harsh manner in the future. Because when you lose all popular support, when you ruin an otherwise productive economy, when you allow COVID-19 to ravage your people and refuse lifesaving vaccine from the West, the only tool left in your toolbox to maintain power and keep control of the country is to crack down even more severely on those who protest and who offer an alternative vision for the future. Unfortunately, I believe this is exactly what Ebrahim Raisi may do when he takes office in August.
Ebrahim Raisi has the blood of many on his hands—and the whole world knows it. As head of Iran’s judiciary, and earlier in his career as a member of the 1988 Death Commission, he is and was responsible for overseeing unspeakable actions, including the forced disappearance and execution of thousands and thousands of political prisoners– mostly members of the MEK— and the targeting of Iranian dissidents abroad. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, this man should be investigated and tried for crimes against humanity, not installed as the next President of Iran. And I, for one, wholeheartedly agree.
Now although this state of affairs may sound bleak, but I say to you again—take heart, take heart. The challenge certainly remains very very difficult; but your unity, sacrifice and persistence will surely deliver results. And I am certain that the United States wants to help.
Specifically, there is overwhelming bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives for H. Res. 118—a Resolution expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular and non-nuclear Republic of Iran. H. Res. 118 also condemns Tehran’s violations of human rights and state sponsored terrorism. As you know, Mrs. Rajavi’s 10 point plan was the model used to craft this resolution. So I want to thank her and the Iranian diaspora, including the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, in particular, for educating many of us in the United States about what’s really happening in today’s Iran. It is so very important that you keep bringing to the attention of the American people and to the world the conditions the people of Iran are really facing today. Don’t let up the pressure, keep on educating.
I now call on our Congress, including the US Senate, to finalize H. Res 118 as soon as possible. In addition, I hope the Congress and other nations will support the Biden Administration’s efforts to seek a “longer and stronger” agreement as a follow on to the reentry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and that any lifting of sanctions in the future would occur only after Tehran agrees and demonstrates that it has altered its behavior on terrorism, human rights, and regional destabilization. As a former Secretary of the US Air Force, I can tell you I am particularly knowledgeable about Iran’s support for terror in Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza and against US forces in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. These actions, this behavior, simply must come to an end!
My friends, please allow me to sum up. YOU—not them—represent the future of Iran. YOU—not them—are committed to equality for all nationalities and genders. YOU—not them—believe in peaceful coexistence and respect for the United Nations charter. And if you continue to fight, to challenge, to speak out and to resist, well then, YOU—not them—will one day deliver the right of self-determination and freedom to the people of Iran.
I know that change is very very hard, change takes time, change requires enormous sacrifice—but I say once again: Keep the faith, keep up the resistance, keep telling the story—and YOU—not them– will ultimately prevail.
I thank you again for your participation in this very important conference, and most of all, I thank you for your commitment to a free Iran.
Secretary Gary Locke, Former United States Secretary of Commerce (2009–2011), former ambassador to China (2011–2014) and the 21st governor of Washington (1997–2005)
Several months before his tragic death nearly six decades ago, President John F. Kennedy said: “The wave of the future is not the conquest by a single dogmatic creed, but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free people.”
My greetings to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and to the tens of thousands of people who have gathered virtually around the world to participate in this Iran Human Rights and Democracy Conference.
I am truly humbled and honored to have been invited to speak to you today and to express my support as you continue your unrelenting fight.
The people and government of the United States of America stand in full solidarity with the people of Iran and fully support your desire to be a free people.
The Iranian people are freedom-loving, brave, and resilient. You are waging a heroic uprising against the corruption and brutality of a terrorist regime. And I say with unwavering confidence that a brighter future awaits Iran thanks to your efforts.
In addition to being the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, the evil regime in Tehran continues to suppress the most fundamental human rights of its own people.
The Iranian people deserve a government that respects democratic norms, the rule of law, and places the needs of the Iranian people above funding its adventurism and terrorism abroad.
It is critical for the United States and other democracies around the world to stand with the Iranian people. This 2021 Free Iran Conference is critical to keeping alive your movement for freedom and democracy.
Conferences and Summits like this are so critical. Because they remind the world that the evil regime does not speak for the people; that Iranians are committed to the ideals of democracy like free speech, public assembly, and fair elections; that human rights are universal rights sought by every people and every nation on earth.
Since the tyrants governing Iran came to power in 1979, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have suffered arrest and death for standing up to these cruel rulers.
I support House Resolution 118 of the current U.S. Congress with over 240 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors that condemns the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses and calls on all democratic governments to unequivocally support the Iranian people’s basic need for human rights.
Women in Iran suffer under a system of discrimination and inequality. And this fact is manifest in the constitution and penal code of the Islamic Republic. And based on this system, the life of a woman literally is regarded as half as valuable as that of a man.
The combined effect is that half of the Iranian population lives with a legal vulnerability that would astonish observers throughout of the rest of the world.
Simply put, women and girls in Iran are vulnerable to violence and harassment, and this permeates every aspect of their lives. As for treatment of ethnic minorities in Iran, they are among the most subjugated, dehumanized, and repressed groups.
It is incumbent on the United Nations to pressure Tehran and hold the Iranian dictators accountable for the ongoing and heightened suppression of these vulnerable groups.
As you know Iran’s ethnic minorities include Arabs, about 3 million of whom live near the Iraqi border in southwest Iran. Nearly 7 million Kurds living in northwest, in what is known as Iranian Kurdistan. The Azari, Iran’s largest ethnic minority with the population of about 18 million who reside in several provinces including Tehran, Hamedan, and East Azerbaijan. And the Baluchis with an approximately population of 1.5 million mostly residing in southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, near border with Pakistan. All the current socio-political and socio-economic situations are difficult for the wider Iranian population. A nation’s ethnic minorities are suffering the worst social, economic and political deprivation, including deprivation of education and healthcare.
America has a proud tradition of supporting the rights of aggrieved people around the world. And I am proud that President Biden on his first trip abroad, renewed the importance of human rights.
The people of Iran can be confident that President Biden understands their persecution and will always support your efforts for a democratic Iran.
While the murderous government officials in Tehran are master propagandists, even they cannot whitewash the election in mid-June of Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi.
The election was a sham, even by the standards of Iran, where unelected clerics hold real power. Of the nearly 600 candidates who registered to run, all but seven were disqualified by the Guardian Council. The Council, a group of clerics and lawyers who vet candidates, essentially clear the field for the hardline cleric and judiciary chief with close ties to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Of course, it was a sham election that vast majority of the Iranian people boycotted the election.
Raisi’s election means he is the first serving Iranian president to have been sanctioned by the U.S. government before entering office, for his involvement in human rights abuses – including the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988.
The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned him in 2019, citing reports that, under Raisi, the judiciary had condoned the execution of child offenders and arrested lawyers for defending political prisoners and human rights defenders.
The U.S. government has also noted his involvement in what it described as a “brutal” crackdown on protesters following the 2009 election and the uprisings in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Dissidents have zeroed in on his role in the “death commission” that ordered the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Iranian political prisoners were asked to identify themselves. And those who responded “mujahedeen” were sent to their deaths, while others were questioned about their willingness to “clear minefields for the army of the Islamic Republic,” according to a 1990 Amnesty International report.
It is estimated that some 30,000 Iranians were killed. The religious Fascists currently running the Iranian government must be held to account. The world community must speak with one voice: that a president like Raisi is unacceptable.
As we look to a brighter future, I am very impressed with the 10-point plan that has been developed for a democratic Iran which also includes the Rule of Law, so important to a free society.
I got my start as a lawyer working as a criminal prosecutor in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. My passion for the law has continued throughout my career. So, I am speaking from the heart when I say that much of the success of the United States can be traced to our strong rule of law that guarantees rights and protections to each individual. As you build a vibrant new democratic Iran, let me share the words of President Barack Obama about the beginnings of American democracy and its Constitution: “It wasn’t perfect… But embedded in this document was a North Star that would guide future generations; a system of representative government – a democracy – through which we could better realize our highest ideals.”
And President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the American Civil War, believed that American democracy meant equal rights and equality of opportunity for all its people. His thoughts from that turbulent time ring true to this day. Lincoln said: “Democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
I close with the words of another U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, written some two hundred years ago: Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote: “When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.”
It has been an honor for me to join you today. Your cause is just and noble. Oppressed people everywhere on earth are warmed by the flame from the lamp of liberty you hold with such courage and conviction.
Long live a free democratic Iran!
Governor Bill Ritter, former Governor of Colorado from 2007 to 2011 (D)
Governor Steve Bullock, former Governor of Montana from 2013 to 2021 (D)
The Iranian people in the battle for a free and democratic Iran are a determined people. You refuse to accept the status quo never settling for less. You refuse to allow discrimination and violence against women and girls and among the many minority populations. You refuse to stand by while prisoners and political dissidents are subjected to inhumane conditions torture or disappearances. You refuse to let fear retribution and terrorism overcome opportunities for peace.
Most importantly you refused to give up hope for it is hope that keeps alive the determination of the Iranian people to exercise the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, to hold the Iranian regime accountable. Americans support the Iranian people in their desire for change.
Governor Phil Bredesen, former Governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011 (D)
Let me begin by acknowledging and thanking the Convention for a Free Iran—and of course Mrs. Rajavi—for the opportunity to speak with you today. You’re at special crossroads in history; it’s an honor for me to be associated, even in this small way, with your work.
Your ideas are compelling, and you’ve had the A-list of political figures and experts come to pay their respect and speak with you. People with deep experience and expertise in foreign relations and knowledge of Iran. I’ve watched the video of some of them.
My experiences have been different. I’ve been a Mayor and Governor out in the middle of America—in Tennessee—a long way from Washington or any other capital. I’ve never been a Member of Congress or worked in the Executive Branch of our Federal Government.
I don’t share foreign policy expertise with many of your other speakers, but we do have a common theme that’s even more basic—every one of us shares a deep belief in the dignity of every human being and in the God-given, the inalienable rights of every human being.
The presence of speakers like myself, from other experiences, other places, underlines the growing power of your movement. The awareness of the dreams and the struggle of ordinary Iranian people is moving beyond a world of insiders in the corridors of power, and into the consciousness and conscience of millions of Americans.
I support and admire your work. I’m sure everyone who speaks to you does. I also want to tell you, in my own personal terms, why I feel that way.
I have a simple and somewhat old-fashioned philosophy of life: that the big job of every grown-up is simply to make the world a little bit better for the next generation. As a governor, I worked on education and on preserving the environment as my way of fulfilling this obligation. Human progress is built on each generation standing on the shoulders of the one before.
I admire you because that’s exactly what I think you’re doing.
I’ve learned a lot about your strategies—promoting democracy, the separation of Church and State, gender equality, the rule of law. But it seems to me that the purpose, the goal, of all those strategies is to make the world a little bit better for the next generation, to build a better society for the young people of Iran—today’s young people and those of generations yet to be born.
There are strong parallels between what you are working to accomplish today, and the birthing struggles our United States went through in the 18th century. There’s a common thread between them—a bedrock belief that we all have God-given human rights that any government must respect. And the belief that the best way to secure those rights, now and for the long term, is through a democratic, secular government. Thomas Jefferson described them—life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The approval of our own Constitution was delayed until these rights were further enumerated in the first 10 Amendments to it—our Bill of Rights. Thomas Jefferson would feel right at home with the principles that you set down in your 10-point plan.
I’m a Tennessean, and for me there’s another connection between your movement and Tennessee’s own history. We have sent three presidents to Washington over the years, of these, far and away the most consequential was Andrew Jackson. He was a Tennessean; his home is just a few miles from where I’m sitting right now.
President Jackson is remembered as being the President who championed the rights of the “common man” against a “corrupt aristocracy.” His six predecessors as President were from elite backgrounds, from the original colonies, anything but representative of the common man. Jackson was born a common man, trusted them. He was the first President from West of the mountains, the frontier. The Jackson presidency was an inflection point in the American experiment that permanently changed the way our democracy works and where power in it lies.
The analogy is limited: the aristocracy you are fighting is far more evil, far more corrupt than anything we’ve ever experienced. But what you’re doing—taking power away from a corrupt elite and placing it firmly in the hands of ordinary people, the common men and women of your nation, is something we Tennesseans value and respect. We can see a little bit of our Tennessee character and worldview in you.
One principle that your struggle has embraced is especially impressive to me: the principle that lasting reform must come from within. I believe that history has shown again and again, in country after country, that you are exactly right. And America, to be honest, has not always figured that out. But you’ve figured out that lasting, durable change in Iran will only come about when that change is driven by the Iranian people themselves. Your approach, in my opinion, is very far-seeing and wise.
I’ve made some comparisons between our own history here in America and what you are working toward, but there is also one fundamental difference. And recognizing that, I want to offer one final thought.
I believe you will be successful in creating the democratic, secular, non-nuclear Iran you seek. You’re on the right side of history. It is apparent that the wheels are coming off the current regime. Your movement contains plenty of sophisticated, optimistic Iranians, in effect a government-in-waiting ready to step up. When this regime collapses, creating a new Iran will take a lot of outreach to former opponents and a lot of setting aside the grievances of the past. America has done this multiple times, to its credit and benefit.
However, however, we have never experienced anything like the regime now controlling Iran. The corruption, the purposeful and calculated brutality, the crimes against humanity it has committed, have to be exposed to the world, to sunlight, and the murderers—there’s no other word—that have committed these crimes be punished. This reckoning with the past must take place before you can build a new Iran, and the world will understand this.
So I salute you. You’re doing what I think grown-ups are obligated to do, working to make things better for the next generation. But you’re also not just any generation in a long line of them, you’re in a very special time and place. Iran—and with it the whole Middle East—is at a fork in the road. One leads backward—to more corruption, more brutality, to an even darker place. The other road—the one you are working to construct, leads to light—a better world for the young people of Iran today and for many more generations to come. To a world where your sons and daughters will finally have their own shot at “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I support you and I respect you.
Ambassador Tim Broas, Former United States Ambassador to the Netherlands from 2014 to 2016 (D)
It is an honor to be here to address the Iranian-American Community at the 2021 Human Rights and Democracy conference. My name is Timothy Broas. I am a lawyer, and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. I had the privilege and pleasure to serve in this position under President Obama.
As an American Ambassador, one of my main tasks was to project America, and all that it stands for, to the people in the country in which I served. Be it our democratic electoral system, our respect for human rights, our zealous protection of equality across every race, age, color, gender, sexual preference or heritage, our vigorous enforcement of the rule of law, the personal liberties of free speech, religion and press, it is our job as diplomats to embrace those values and share and spread them. It is also our mission to keep the world safe from nuclear proliferation. We do not impose our values or traditions or laws on our hosts, but we explain, project and educate as much as possible the American way of life.
We are not perfect, and never will be. But we desire to be perfect, and we aspire to be so. We set goals, we debate and pass laws, we vote and elect governing officials, we defend our country and our trusted allies against the vicious forces of terrorism and unjust war. We uphold constitutional rights through our courts, all in pursuit of meeting the high standard set by our founding fathers in our constitution: justice and equality for all. We condemn terrorism in all of its inhumane and evil expressions, external or domestic, and we investigate and prosecute all those who choose to commit such acts.
Serving as an Ambassador in Europe allowed me to observe and study the origins for the foundational thinking behind the American republic. Our founders emigrated mostly from Europe, seeking to escape autocratic and corrupt monarchies and religious repression. Yes, they set lofty goals, but they gave all Americans a blueprint from which to grow, aspire, and pursue perfection.
Democracy is sometimes an ugly process, and we don’t always find ways to compromise, but over time, life in America has progressed and improved. European countries provided the model for our constitution and political structure. Our values derive from those experiences and those relationships. I like to think we adopted the best of our European partners’ values and systems, and repudiated the worst.
As Iranian Americans, many of you came here from Iran, and many more of you were born and raised here. Some of you have fond memories of living and working in pre-revolutionary Iran and dream of returning. Those of you who were born here likely dream of visiting and discovering your homeland, and perhaps moving there and living there someday.
Like our European founders, many of you came here to escape totalitarian and autocratic rule, intolerance and injustice. You left behind an authoritarian and lawless theocracy, a sponsor and supporter of terrorism, a denier of basic human rights, a misogynistic collection of male rulers intolerant of women.
Conceived in the name of eliminating corruption and foreign influence, the Iranian regime is an isolated land whose only friends and allies are fellow sponsors of terrorism and dictatorships. The Iran regime openly threatens to destroy Israel and takes pains to persuade its citizens that America is the enemy. It aspires to develop nuclear weapons. Instead of eliminating corruption, the Iran regime has become one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
But there is hope for Iran, for its citizens, and for all of humanity. And that hope rests squarely and centrally with all of you: the resistance. You are a force, a loud and vocal force for change. But you can and must become even louder. You can and must turn up the volume.
You need to keep growing, keep speaking out, keep organizing, keep working with your friends and allies, both here in the U.S. Government and elsewhere in the civilized world. You have accomplished so much already, through House Resolution 118, a bipartisan resolution by the U.S. Congress, condemning Iran and embracing Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan.
Through you and your colleagues, and the boycott of Iran’s recent elections, you have shown the world that the election of Mr. Raisi was a sham and a fraud. Mr. Raisi was not elected by the Iranian people. He was selected and appointed by the religious autocrats and cronies.
The people of Iran are speaking through their actions. They are protesting with their conduct. They are showing the world that the non-violent protest is the most powerful and effective force to affect change. Throughout history, we have seen how non-violent protest can affect the most profound change. Our own civil rights movement comes to mind, as does Nelson Mandela and his crusade against apartheid in South Africa, Mohatma Gandhi in India, and many others.
Please intensify and expand your advocacy. The women and children of Iran are counting on you. The political prisoners in Iran are counting on you. Like you, they are yearning for a democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic of Iran. They seek a government that treats all of its citizens equally. They desire a country with a legal system and courts that enforce and respect human rights, including access to justice, health and education and economic opportunity.
All of this change is within reach. A democratic, secular and non-nuclear Iran may sometimes seem an unattainable dream, but it’s not.
Thanks to your resistance and your persistence, it is more hopeful and possible than ever. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today.
Scott Perry, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
Hello, everybody. This is congressman Scott Perry with a message to the members of the 2021 Conference on free, secular, non-nuclear Republican Iran.
First of all, let’s talk about the sham election of your so-called President Ebrahim Raisi. It was not a fair and free election, even the Amnesty International report shows that this was not the will of the people. This is a sham election, number one. Number two, this Raisi character, as I will call him, as you know, is a murderer. I’m here to tell you that the rest of the world knows that you’re living under the tyranny of a murderer, whether it was his part in the commission, I think it was the death Commission’s in 1988, whether his involvement in the political deaths of political dissidents in 2019. This is a person who should not sit at the seat of power, who is not legitimately elected and is not the legitimate leader of the people of Iran who seek and yearn to breathe free.
The message for you today is that we recognize your plight, we acknowledge it and we stand beside you. We in America are ready to do all that we can including sanctions of the most onerous type to the regime in Iran to bring them to heel so that you can breathe free and so that your voices can be heard. Take home, keep the faith, and keep fighting. The rest of the world is with you. God bless you.
Congressman Don Bacon (R.) is the U.S. Representative for Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district
Dear Friends at the “2021 Free Iran Conference,”
I am honored to be here with you today, in this global forum, to declare my support for democracy and human rights in Iran and express my solidarity with the Iranian people. Iranians have endured a lot in the last forty years: From brutal suppression and trampling of their basic rights, to losing many of their children during peaceful street protests, and to losing hundreds of thousands of their compatriots to COVID-19 because of the Iranian leader’s indifference and incompetence in dealing with pandemic.
I am proud to be one of the original co-sponsors of H. Res. 118, which expresses support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear republic. This resolution has over 240 bipartisan co-sponsors in the US Congress, which demonstrates the will of the representatives of American people in supporting a democratic and free Iran.
As stated in this resolution, tens of thousands of people gathered in Paris at the Free Iran gathering to show support for the opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for the future of Iran, which calls for the universal right to vote, free elections, a market economy, advocates for gender, religious, and ethnic equality, a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence, and a nonnuclear Iran.
The recent sham election is another indication of the regime’s unabated disregard for the rule of law and democratic process. I believe US policy towards Iran must be based on our commitment to human and women’s, religious, and minority rights, and our unwavering support for the establishment of a democratic republic in Iran.
I thank you for the opportunity you gave me to address you today and I wish you the best in your mission to bring about meaningful change in Iran.
May God bless you all.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R.) member of the Republican Party’s Whip Team and Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee
Hello, I am Congressman Gus Bilirakis and it is a pleasure to speak with you today as part of your Free Iran Global Summit 2021. In addition to representing the Tampa Bay area in the United States Congress, I am the Co-Chairman of the International Religious Freedom Caucus and a Member of the Executive Committee of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. I have fought throughout my congressional career to protect the most basic and fundamental rights for people around the globe who are persecuted and discriminated against by oppressive governments.
I am honored to be here with you today, in this virtual global forum, and next year we would hopefully be face-to-face, to declare my support for democracy and human rights In Iran and express my solidarity with the Iranian people.
Iranians have endured a lot in the past forty years: From brutal suppression and trampling of their basic rights, to losing many of their children during peaceful street protests.
Iran has been a destabilizing and antagonizing force in the Middle East for a long time. Iran has repeatedly proven itself to be an untrustworthy, aggressive state sponsor of terrorism. We need independent investigations into the Iranian regime’s past and present terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and Iranian exiles.
The Iranian regime has engaged in persecution against religious minorities for decades, and these unacceptable violations have only intensified and worsened with time. Religious freedom is the most basic fundamental human right, and it must be protected.
While daily examples abound of other human rights violations, I am particularly troubled by the events that began on November 15, 2019 when popular protests against the Iranian regime began and rapidly spread to at least 100 cities throughout the country. Reports indicate that Iranian security forces used lethal force and about 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest, and thousands more were detained during these protests.
Throughout history, humanity has encountered many faces of evil. Our brightest moments as an international community have been those in which we present a united front in our efforts to identify and eradicate its presence. Our darkest momentsas a human race have come during timeswhen those who knew better stood silently, making excuses for passivity and allowing injustice and persecution to reign. America must remain a beacon of principled courage, recognizing and promoting the basic human rights of all people. If we remain silent in the face of these transgressions, we neglect that moral imperative and do so at the peril of civil society.
We must empower the people of Iran in their efforts to create a more open, democratic government that is accountable to those it serves. And, it is best for everyone if Iran remains without nuclear capabilities. I also believe we need to make sure not to make hasty decisions that unnecessarily escalate tensions between the United States and Iran.
However, let me be clear –Iran is not our friend, and indeed, poses one of the biggest threats to our national security than any other nation.
The time has come for a new approach in how we interact with Iran. Iran must be held accountable for its bad behavior and the U.S. must take a firm stance that further misconduct will no longer be tolerated.
I am proud to be one of the original co-sponsors of H.R. 118, which expressed support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear republic. This resolution had an overwhelming bipartisan support in US Congress, which demonstrates the will of the representatives of the American people in supporting a democratic Iran. Iran has a rich history and the people of Iran deserve a representative government that works for them and has their well-being in mind. The current rulers in Iran are more interested in imposing their fundamentalist ideology on the people than providing for their basic needs. They have shown repeatedly that their number one priority is the export of fundamentalism and spread of their hegemony over the region, and not the well-being of their people.
The US policy vis-a-vis Iran must be based on our commitment to human, women’s, religious, and minority rights, and our unwavering support for the establishment of a democratic Iran.
Again, thank you for inviting me to speak with you today and for your advocacy to bring about positive change in Iran. We must not go back, we must continue to empower the oppressed and ensure that their voices are not silenced under this difficult time. The United States will always stand with those fighting for the right to free speech and democracy. We will continue to stand with the Iranian citizens until their goal of a free and democratic society becomes a reality, and of course, they deserve nothing less. Wonderful people. Thank you so very much.
Congresswoman Angie Craig (D) is the U.S. Representative from Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district
Hi everyone. I’m Congresswoman Angie Craig and I’m so proud to represent Minnesota’s second district in the United States Congress.
First off, I’d like to thank you all for inviting me to address this important event today. I’m honored to join my colleagues in Congress and folks around the world in expressing my support for a democratic and secular Iran.
In Congress, I’m working to support peace and stability in the Middle East by cosponsoring HR 118, a resolution that’s stating in no uncertain terms that the U.S. Congress is on the side of the Iranian people in the ongoing struggle to bring fundamental and lasting change to your home country.
In cosponsoring that resolution, I stand alongside members of both parties in condemning the human rights abuses of the Iranian regime, including their violent actions to suppress a peaceful democratic protest movement in 2019, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,500 innocent Iranians. To this day, countless Iranians are in custody for the simple crime of expressing their desire for a true and open democracy. The United States must continue working to hold this regime accountable for its hostile and unlawful behavior, both against its own citizens and across the globe. I believe the Iranian people should determine the future of Iran and stand by those brave folks who bravely stood up against the regime to demand basic freedoms for their countrymen.
Freedom and democracy in Iran is achievable, and I commend you for your steadfast struggle for freedom. Thank you all for your hard work and advocacy, and for your commitment to a free Iran. Have a great rest of your day.
Congressman Brad Schneider (D) U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 10th congressional district
Hi, I’m Congressman Brad Schneider. I am so pleased to address your conference this year, and I want to thank all of you for being here today, especially in the light of the recent election in Iran, an election that was anything but free and fair, your activism and engagement is critical for holding Iran and countries across the world accountable not only to their citizens but also to human rights.
Throughout my whole career in Congress, I have advocated to the United States government to hold Iran accountable for its reprehensible human rights abuses and its intolerance of political opposition. In 2019, 1,500 people died while protesting the Iranian regime in what became the deadliest crackdown since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
The tragedy was sadly not an isolated incident. The 2019 crackdown was part of a decades-long history of the Iranian regime’s abuse of its own people.
It is essential that we memorialize the thousands of Iranians who have lost their lives over the past decade. The United States must always stand with those who exercise their political rights. The Middle East and the entire world will benefit from a democratic Republic of Iran that respects freedom we all hold so near and dear.
We must continue doing everything we can to speak out against Iran’s human rights abuses and hold the regime to account. This also includes preventing Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons. Because of Iran’s support of Hezbollah and other terrorist proxy, it is imperative that the United States and our allies work together to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran.
So once again, thank you for the awareness you bring to the Iranian struggle for freedom and for lending a voice to the voiceless. I stand with you.
Congressman Tom Emmer (R.) U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 6th congressional district
My name is Tom Emmer, and I represent Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District.
Thank you for inviting me to join your summit today. I am proud to stand with all of you in your mission for a free and democratic Iran.
We come together today with shared goals: an end to repression, an end to persecution, and an end to terror. As all of you know, so-called “President” Ebrahim Raisi is not the true choice of the Iranian people – far from it – nor will he bring them a better future.
But we must not lose hope: The challenges ahead shouldn’t discourage us, but instead strengthen our resolve. This year, I again co-sponsored a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning the state-sponsored terrorism that has plagued Iran for decades and expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, non-nuclear republic.
Together, we can look forward to the day when all Iranians will be able to live without fear.
Thank you for your hope for a free Iran and for your hard work toward making this goal a reality.
And thank you again for letting me join you.”
Congressman French Hill (R.) U.S. Representative for Arkansas’s 2nd congressional district
The ayatollahs the mullahs and the Iranian military are all profiting at the expense of ordinary Iranian citizens who’ve shown their longing for a government that respects the rule of law and supports the people over international terroHello to all of you participating in the 2021 Free Iran Global Summit. I am honored to participate in this year’s summit in support of a democratic and free Iran. For the past four decades, the people of Iran have lived under the brutal dictatorship of the Ayatollahs in Tehran.
The Ayatollahs, the Mullahs, and the Iranian military are all profiting at the expense of ordinary Iranian citizens who have shown their longing for a government that respects the rule of law and supports people over international terrorists.
The Iranian people are rightfully calling for greater accountability. No one should live under tyranny and be exploited by their government.
The Iranian people want change and have been advocating for freedom and democracy.
Sadly, thousands have been killed and millions imprisoned because of their views and their efforts to promote human rights and dignity.
This behavior should not be tolerated, and I condemn the actions of this tyrannical regime. I stand with the people of Iran. America stands with the people of Iran.
In this Congress, I am a proud co-sponsor of H. Res.118 which expresses our support for the people of Iran who are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against the Iranian regime.
Congressman Pete Sessions (R.) former chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee
Hello, I’m Congressman Pete Sessions, and I stand today after a great meeting that I had with the Iranian ex pats who stand very strongly with the United States in condemning the violence and the brutality that comes from the Iranians’ regime.
The new president is a man who has been a part of brutal thuggery that takes place not only in Iran, but around the world. So, I stand with these ex-pats and say keep the solemn vision and viewpoint to support people back in Iran to make sure that they know that America, United States Congress, stands with them.
H. Res. 118 is just one example of our fight to make sure that the world knows, as we isolate Iran for what they are, that they are brutal dictators who will kill their own people for the sake of their own power.
So thank you for taking time with me. Let’s never forget the struggle that takes place and stand behind our Iranian friends who will stand against this terrible regime in Tehran.
Congressman Raul Ruiz (D) U.S. Representative for California’s 36th congressional district
Hello everyone. My name is Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz. I am an emergency medicine physician and public health expert, and I represent Southern California’s 36th Congressional District. I am also the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. I am immensely proud of the growing Iranian American community in my district and it is a true honor to be with you for this year’s Free Iran Conference. Standing up for the human rights of the people of Iran is not only necessary but vital to helping ensure that the Iranian people know that America and all peace-loving people stand with them in their pursuit liberty, democracy and a peaceful Iran.
That is why I am a strong supporter of H. Res. 118, which underlines a plan to promote a democratic, secular and nonnuclear Republic of Iran. This resolution condemns past and present Iranian state sponsored terrorist attacks against United States citizens and officials as well as Iranian dissidents. This resolution stands with the people of Iran who are continuing to hold legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive and corrupt regime. The House must pass H. Res. 118 to send its clear message to the Iranian people. The American people stand with you. The Iranian people have spoken and the United States has heard you and stands with you in solidarity. Know that we will continue supporting you as you pursue your basic rights, freedom and democracy.
I applaud you for convening this gathering today to let the world know that the majority of the United States Congress condemns Iran’s malignant behavior in the region and supports the people’s rights for freedom and liberty. To the Iranian people seeking freedom, democracy and human rights, I stand with you, the United States Congress stands with you, and the American people stand with you. Thank you.
Nicole Malliotakis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 11th district
To all those gathered at the free, secular, nonnuclear and republican Iran conference that’s being held, this is United States Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis and I wanted to thank you for coming together to advocate for a free Iran.
What happened in this election was very disturbing to not only those who want a free Iran, but to those all around the world that care about liberty and human rights. The election of Raisi as somebody who has United States sanctions against him, as someone who’s responsible for the death of thousands of Iranians who were just advocating for their own rights and freedom, is very disturbing.
And so, we need to continue to join together to demand that Iran hold free and fair elections, that they release United States hostages, that they improve human rights and certainly that the Biden administration does not reenter any Iranian deal or lift sanctions unless they’re going to come to the table with good faith. And we will continue as members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to advocate for this.
As a member of this committee, I have been at the forefront of cosponsoring legislation and resolutions that would do just this. So thank you so much for being a part of this effort and movement.
I thank you all for your support, and I look forward to continuing to work together.
Fatmir Mediu, Chairman of the Republican Party of Albania
Dear Madame Rajavi, dear friends from Iran, dear friends from around the world, I have been privileged to get to know and work with my friends from Iran and all of you in the great cause of freedom.
Nothing is more important in life than freedom. Thank you for giving me the chance once more to address this extraordinary international conference from across the globe.
Iran is a country of great history, and should be the country of Iranians that want to live in peace and freedom. I should congratulate every Iranian people on the resistance for organizing such a great gathering. The Iranian people have a history of almost half of the century protesting, resisting and sacrificing for the country and freedom. We have seen it in 1999, 2011, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and more than 1,500 people were killed during the November 2019 popular protest.
First, I believe we should be uniting and condemning all these brutal atrocities of the Iran regime against Iranian people and MEK. But I don’t believe this is enough. Second, we shouldn’t just say great words about the sacrifice of Iranian people, but we should be united and have discussions in our parliament, congress, and we should push our governments to stand strong against brutal atrocities of the regime.
As Albanians who have tried to do our part, and we are still doing our part, not just host our friends from Iran, but stand firm in policy against terrorism. We did expel the Iranian regime ambassador in Albania together with three other diplomats in December 2018 for their engagement blob against MEK in Tehran.
I believe that all agents and mercenaries in the Iranian regime, intelligence, security agencies should be expelled from Albania and the rest of Europe. On April 2021, US Congress supported the resolution No. 118 that was a support for Iranian people’s desire for democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran and condemns violation of human rights the state sponsored terrorism by the Iranian government. The resolution also supports the 10-point plan of Madame Rajavi, NCRI President for free Iran.
Thanks to American congressmen, the Resolution praises positive and important steps of Albanian government expelling multiple Iranian diplomats in response to the news that the regime has also deployed terrorist activities against members of MEK in Albania.
We should work on the same resolutions in our Parliament’s and the European Parliament as well. Recently, Iran had so-called elections. They elected President Raisi that is accused for mass murder and crime against humanity. It makes more obvious the Iranian regime will not stop being against his own people and threat to the rest of the world. Amnesty International in 2021 June 19, Raisi has risen to the present the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder and forced disappearance and torture. His grim reminder the impunity reigns supreme in Iran.
As chairman, Republican Party of Albania, I do support NCRI as the alternative to the regime to bring about peace and freedom in Iran. The 10-point plan of Madame Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran for democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran is the way for free Iran. Once more, thank you very much and God bless you all.
Amb. Mitchell Reiss, 27th President of Washington College, served as Director of Policy Planning at the United States Department of State from 2003 to 2005
My name is Mitchell Reiss. I’m a former American ambassador. It is my pleasure to be able to speak today to the Free Iran World Summit. That word ‘free’ in other words, like in freedom, democracy and human rights, unfortunately doesn’t hold much meaning these days inside Iran. The latest presidential election was a sham, with less than 20%, perhaps as few as 10%, of the people of Iran actually bothering to vote.
Why was that? Because so many of the candidates had been eliminated from the ballot by the regime unilaterally and arbitrarily. The low voter turnout was despite threats by Ayatollah Khamenei that voting was something that was essential, that if you didn’t vote, it was a religious sin, and yet people still stayed away.
The next president is clearly a puppet of the Mullahs. And you have to ask yourself, why was this one man selected? Why was he allowed to run for office, when so many others were denied that opportunity? And I think the answer is clear. It’s because of his history of repression and terror in obedience to the religious authorities in their repression of the Iranian people for so many years, dating back to the late 1980s when he served as a member of the death commission that resulted in 30,000 people being executed.
Both Amnesty International and the United Nations have called for Special Investigations into the role of this death commission, and clearly any investigation must also examine his culpability for this crime against humanity.
So, there’s no doubt that the regime in Iran once more is illegitimate. It doesn’t enjoy the will of the people. In fact, the people have indicated that they don’t support this regime. And it stands against a much better vision, a much more hopeful vision for Iran, one that is based on freedom and democracy and human rights and dignity, where people can assemble freely.
They can read the books they want, they can post on social media as they wish, they can speak up. That’s the vision that Madame Rajavi has established for a new Iran. It’s very attractive. It is very appealing to millions of people across Iran and indeed across the world. But it is feared, terribly feared by the regime and the mullahs now control the levers of power in Tehran.
The good news is time in history is on the side of Madame Rajavi and freedom for the Iranian people. Hope must be kept alive, because that’s what will eventually win the day. So, it’s my pleasure, again, to speak to you today and to say that many people around the world, millions of people, stand with the Iranian people and their hopes and dreams for a better future.
And we’re with you, and we encourage you, and we support the vision that Madame Rajavi has established for a new Iran.
Senator Doug Jones, former United States Senator from Alabama from 2018 to 2021 (D)
Thank you to all of the organizers and sponsors and the tens of thousands of people from around the world attending the 2021 Iran Human Rights & Democracy Conference. And I want to give a special thank you to my friends at the Organization of Iranian American Communities for asking me to be part of this historic event. I am honored to participate, to demonstrate my support for and to stand with each of you and the Iranian people in their quest for a Secular, Democratic and Non-Nuclear Republic of Iran.
And as you all are well aware, the recent activity in Iran was not an “election,” where the people of Iran duly elect their next president, but in reality, it was a “selection” by Iran’s Supreme Leader of a loyalist, Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, whose rise to power has been marked by repression and injustice and the execution of literally thousands of political dissidents dating back to the 1988 Massacre which you are all too familiar with. Many who are in attendance at this conference are the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and children of the fallen at the hands of the regime and Raisi.
But know this: The people of Iran did not speak in this past election. They spoke with their silence. They spoke by refusing to vote in an election where the outcome was pre-ordained and not reflective of the will of the people. By refusing to participate in such a sham, the people of Iran, not the regime, can claim victory.
And know this as well: The speakers at this conference are here because we are with you. The 242 bipartisan co-sponsors of HR 118 and others who support it in the United States Congress are with you. I am with you.
And there is hope. Iran’s election this year is vastly different than those that have gone before it. This year’s so-called election comes at the regime’s most precarious time as its prospects for survival are being questioned from both sides, inside the regime and outside by freedom seeking people in Iran and across the globe. The vulnerability has been on full display since the last Iranian election with a series of successive uprisings each year since 2017.
Whether it is the global economy, military security, climate change, racial and social justice or healthcare and the fight against a worldwide pandemic, democracy represents more than just a form of government, it is an idea and a set of values grounded in the dignity and value of every single human being. It is a theme that President Biden campaigned on and a theme he has stressed since becoming President.
Significantly, the United States Congress, through the House Representatives Resolution 118, is speaking out. The resolution highlights the desire of the Iranian people to achieve the freedoms they so rightly deserve as evidenced by the repeated rounds of protests in cities throughout Iran, and urges the Biden Administration to make ending the Iranian regime’s reign of terror and human rights abuses while providing unwavering support for the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom and a democratic, non-nuclear Republic of Iran, make that the centerpiece of U.S. policy toward Iran. Resolution is also a message to the global community to not let up, to work together in a unified effort to hold Iran accountable for breaching diplomatic privileges and targeting tens of thousands of Iranians calling for the universal right to vote, free elections, gender, religious and ethnicity equality, and a foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence and a non-nuclear Iran. The point is you have friends in and out of the United States government.
But change will not and should not come to Iran because other countries want it or even demand it. No my friends, change must come – and I believe will come – from you and the people of Iran. You are the source and instrument of change. You are the inspiration for change. As the late Senator John McCain said to you just a few years ago,
“You are the example to the world that those people who are willing to fight and sacrifice for freedom will achieve it.”
The people of Iran are demonstrating time and time again, year after year, that they are willing to make the sacrifices for freedom. In particular, the youth of Iran, the students and younger generation of Iran, are leading the efforts for a more inclusive society. A society where all are treated equally. One that does not discriminate based gender, ethnicity or class. These young people see the value to the world of an Iranian society that freely allows the Persian people to showcase their talents in business and science and the arts. As with all countries, but particularly Iran, the future lies in its youth.
The power and strength of young people are especially significant for me. I grew up in a period of unrest in America, where the youth of America demanded civil rights and equal opportunities for American citizens of all races. And I am proud to say that it was the youth of my city – Birmingham, Alabama – that became the shining example and inspiration for America’s civil rights movement some 60 years ago.
Today, it is the youth of Iran that is also a beacon of hope. Time and time again it is Iranian students and youth that are leading the way for freedom in Iran. Major uprisings in December 2017 signaled that regime change is within reach. January 2018 protests dispelled the false narrative that there was a struggle between hardliners and moderates within the regime. The November 2019 uprising encompassed nearly 200 cities and towns resulting in even harsher repression by the regime. And in January 2020 nationwide protests were triggered by a cover up orchestrated by the regime after the IRGC shot down a Ukrainian airliner. As happened in Birmingham some 56 years earlier, students and others took to the streets demanding change.
But change – true change, lasting change – does not come quickly or easily. True change, lasting change will come only through continued determination, ongoing commitment and lasting sacrifice – characteristics possessed by all freedom loving Iranians. It was the same determination, commitment and sacrifice seen and heard during America’s civil rights movement as time and time again demonstrators sang the lyrics of one of the many great freedom songs:
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ‘round, turn me ‘round. Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ‘round I’m gonna keep on walking, keep on talking. Marching up to freedom land.
The challenges for a secular, democratic and non-nuclear Iran still lie ahead. So my charge to you as this conference concludes is to never give up, never lose sight of the quest for freedom,
keep on walk-in’ keep on talkin’ Keep on marching toward freedom land ….and in so doing, don’t let nobody turn you around
Thank you very, very much!
Gérard Longuet, former French Defense Minister
It is really important to see you can be away from Iran but support its people. Iran is a key in the region. You have a role to play in the region. It is obvious that Iran plays a big role in upheavals that we have in this part of the world. The election showed that a lot of people did not vote because the candidates did not represent the people of Iran. We need to recognize the right to democracy in Iran. You have a message of sympathy. The European Union must stand with you. Peace is the only viable option for Iran.
C’est une idée importante, une idée forte, une idée juste que d’organiser ce colloque sur l’Iran au lendemain des élections présidentielles.
Il faut savoir que quelle que soit la complexité de ce pays et quelles que soient les différences culturelles qui nous séparent, qui nous éloignent de l’Iran, pour nous Français et pour nous Européens, nous avons une attention soutenue pour ce qui se passe dans ce grand pays, qui a une grande histoire et une grande culture.
Une attention soutenue parce que l’Iran est une clé dans le Golfe persique, ou dans le Golfe arabique, en tous les cas une clé régionale. Dans la relation avec Israël, avec les pays aujourd’hui déstabilisés que sont la Syrie, l’Irak et, hélas, le malheureux Liban, il est évident que les gardiens de la révolution, que l’Iran religieux, l’Iran clérical, joue un rôle considérable.
Ce n’est pas une raison pour autant de refuser d’approfondir la situation, de s’intéresser à l’opinion. Les élections présidentielles ont montré qu’il y avait une très forte abstention, pratiquement la moitié, sans doute parce que les candidats retenus par l’autorité religieuse ne représentaient pas toutes les opinions. Ces candidats plus libres, plus ouverts, qui ne sont pas dépendants du système, ont été découragés… et je voudrais les saluer.
Mais évidemment, la France et l’Union européenne doivent continuer de négocier pour que à la fois l’Iran évolue, comme le souhaite une fraction très importante de l’opinion et en particulier les plus jeunes, ceux qui ont le plus de formation, les étudiants qui se sont exprimés, notamment lorsqu’il y a eu cette tragédie de l’avion ukrainien abattu.
Nous avons à suivre et à encourager ceux qui veulent moderniser l’Iran, au sens d’une démocratie ouverte d’un pays qui a une classe dirigeante, une élite, des ingénieurs, des universitaires, des scientifiques, des entrepreneurs de grande qualité, je crois qu’ils ont le droit de bénéficier des mêmes possibilités qui s’offrent aux pays les plus développés et l’Iran est un pays qui a la capacité du développement, en restant fidèle à ses convictions mais en cessant d’être une sorte de point d’interrogation permanent et d’intervenant permanent à l’extérieur.
Je n’ai pas l’ambition, la prétention d’apporter une solution. Je dois simplement dire que nous Européens, nous Français, nous regardons ce qui se passe en Iran avec une extrême attention, car nous savons qu’il n’y aura pas de prospérité, de paix durable, d’échanges libres et respectueux, de partenariat solide, sans qu’il y ait une évolution forte.
Oui, vraiment, nous avons le devoir de bien savoir ce qui se passe en Iran et d’apporter ce message d’attention, ce message d’écoute, pour dire la vérité, ce message de sympathie, pour tous ceux qui défendent, à l’image de l’Union européenne, plus de liberté, plus de démocratie, dans la vie quotidienne. La paix c’est la condition de la prospérité, et la condition de la paix, c’est la liberté de chacun. Les Iraniens y ont droit, complètement.
Senator Joe Donnelly (D), former United States Senator from Indiana from 2013 to 2019
The United States stands with the people of Iran and the goals of your conference to see a free Iran that respects the human rights and religious beliefs of all its people.
The government that is in place in Iran today has instead a long history of human rights violations and it spreads terrorist activities around the world. That’s not who the people of Iran are or want to be. Instead, Iran’s citizens have peacefully and heroically demonstrated throughout their country in recent years for change and a better life and they were attacked, beaten, jailed, and killed by this government because they stood up for a better future.
Imagine an Iran that exported peace and knowledge and friendship and help to other peoples and places. That’s the Iran you are working so hard to create.
Kelly Ayotte, United States Senator from New Hampshire (2011-2017)
The Iranian people deserve peace. They deserve prosperity, basic human rights and freedom. They also deserve free and fair elections, truly democratic elections, not the sham presidential election that recently accord in Iran.
It’s time to re impose tougher sanctions on Iran. We should not re-enter the weak JCPOA. They only understand strength. It is time for the Biden administration and leaders around the world to impose a maximum pressure campaign on Iran. We cannot allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.
We cannot allow Iran to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles which have the capability of delivering a nuclear weapon.
It is clear that it is time to fully support the Iranian people and to stand with the NCRI.