Excerpts of the speech of Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, Director of Policy Planning at the US Department of State from 2003 to 2005, at the Free Iran 2022, is as follows:
My name is Mitchell Reiss, and it is my great pleasure and privilege to be able to speak with you today.
I want to begin my remarks by condemning unequivocally the recent decision by the Belgian government to send Assadollah Assadi back to Tehran. Let’s call this exactly what it is: appeasement. It is appeasement that will only lead to more terror and more hostage taking by the Iranian regime. It will turn Belgium into a sanctuary and Brussels a sanctuary city in the heart of Europe for terrorism and terrorist activities.
This will make all Europeans and indeed people all over the world less safe and less secure. It is also contrary to human rights, international law and recent trends.
Most importantly, the brave decision by Sweden to give a life sentence to one of the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Iran. As we condemn Belgium, we need to salute the courageous Swedish people for their decision.
All of this is happening at a time when war has once more come to the heart of Europe with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I believe that all freedom-loving Iranians should take heart by the response of the democratic world to Russia’s tyranny and brazen violence and terror against Ukraine.
All of Europe has rallied. All of the United States has rallied. All of the democratic countries in Asia, especially South Korea and Japan, have rallied in support of freedom, human rights and democracy. These are values personified by President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people. We understand that Ukraine’s fight is everyone’s fight.
The same is true of your fight for a better future, a safer future, a more democratic future for Iran. The regime would have you believe that your protests are simply a call to impose a different type of tyranny on the Iranian people; a call back to the Shah and his repression. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All of this is simply a mask, a smokescreen by the regime to try to distract people’s attention from its continued terrorism throughout the Middle East, its continued repression at home against the Iranian people and its massive corruption that fuels the mullahs and this regime going forward.
The true costs of Iran’s terror and oppression are now much better understood than they were even a few years ago. The world now stands behind you and all the freedom loving Iranian people around the world in support of your aspirations, just as they stand behind the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
She has been, and she continues to be, a beacon of light, illuminating a pathway forward for all the Iranian people. A pathway forward that will lead to a democratic Iran where everyone can live safely, securely and in prosperity.
Today, I wish for you and all the Iranian people a life of peace, security, and safety. And so I say to you once more, thank you for this privilege you’ve given me to address you today. And may the coming year be filled with nothing but happiness and best wishes.