Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs of the U.S. (2001-2005), addressed at the 2nd Day of The Free Iran World Summit on July 12, 2021.
Madame Rajavi, members of the National Council of resistance of Iran, Iranian citizens in Iran, and diaspora members around the world, friends and supporters, it is my honor to be with you today. Greetings.
For most of the past 68 years, America has regretted that the CIA drove Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh from office in 1953. The Shah became a brutal and corrupt dictator, cynically promoting his peacock throne as the embodiment of glorious Persian history. Today in 2021, with Ebrahim Raisi set to become Iran’s next president, no one disputes that Iran’s people are victims of another brutal and corrupt dictatorship. This time cynically promoting the Supreme Leader as the embodiment of religious and political authority. Raisi’s background is impossible to whitewash. Since the age of 20, he has been condemning free thinking citizens to prison, torture, and death with no due process.
In recent years, he ran Mashdad’s Astan Quds‘ conglomerate, a massive enterprise benefiting the clerics, estimates of funds under the Supreme Leader’s control run as high as $200 billion money that should be helping the Iranian people. Imagine what masa Dec would say. The question today, for my country and others, is similar to the one faced in 1953. Will you support corrupt dictatorship? Or will you respect the people of Iran in their demand for legitimate self-government? Today, their rights are being denied and the nation’s wealth is being diverted from their basic needs.
Many outsiders including journalists might be surprised to learn that the NCRI and MEK are the true followers of Mosaddegh’s nationalist democratic ideal. Newspapers often call the resistance Marxist, which of course is false. But in 1981, Ayatollah Khomeini hosted teams of Soviet KGB agents in Tehran to help him suppress dissent and maintain control.
No one in the resistance has ever been convicted of terrorism. Every MEK member in Iraq was vetted by the US government in 2003 and none had any ties to terrorism. Four major court cases in North America and Europe concluded that the MEK never engaged in terrorism. But this year, an Iranian diplomat in Europe received a 20-year sentence from a Belgian court for attempting to bomb the free Iran gathering in France in 2018.
It is time for the world to get its basic facts straight on who is and who is not a terrorist. 40 years of regime deception, propaganda, and disinformation are dissolving as the walls close in on the embattled regime in Theran. My government tried for years to persuade Iran to reform its behavior and improve relations after they bombed our embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon in the 1980s.
We sent Iran weapons to fight against Saddam Hussein. Yet they continued taking hostages in Beirut. After they bombed Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, killing 19 US Airmen, the US placed the MEK on the terrorism list as a political gesture to the reformist President Khatami, yet our reward was a secret nuclear weapons program.
And in this past decade after we agreed to the nuclear JCPOA, ended the arms embargo, released frozen funds and lifted the UN prohibition on ballistic missile development, the regime’s response was to escalate sectarian war across the Middle East. Most of the world is united in seeking to help Iraq recover from war, implement a UN mandated transition to a legitimate government in Syria, address Lebanon’s deepening crisis, promote Israeli Palestinian peace and stop the devastating conflict in Yemen. And yet, in every one of these crisis areas, the obstacle to progress is Iran and its proxy militias.
So, now comes Ebrahim Raisi, a man personally implicated in one of the worst crimes against humanity since World War II, the massacre of an estimated 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. His elevation through a stage electoral charade obliges all of us, our governments and our news media correspondents to face the truth and to speak the truth.
There will never be peace, warmer relations or robust trade with Iran under this regime. Fundamentalist Iran has entered its fifth decade as a blight on the rules based international order. Our shared values and principles are daily being violated openly and with impunity. The situation is intolerable. We must promote change.
My friends, we have told the truth and supported the right principles in Iran for years now, even when much of the world had a different understanding. We were right then, and we are right today. We can’t turn the clock back to 1953. But in many ways, this is another Mosaddegh moment. His goal of a democratic Iran benefiting from the wealth of the nation has never died. It lives within the walls of Ashraf 3. Let us stand together. Say no to tyranny and corruption and yes to a free Iran. Thank you.