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Remarks by Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Free Iran World Summit 2023 – July 1, 2023

Remarks by Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Free Iran World Summit 2023 - July 1, 2023

Former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, addressed the first day of The Free Iran World Summit on July 1, 2023.

Mike Pompeo: Iran Protests Are the Result of 40 Years of Organized Opposition

The full text of Former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s remarks, is as follows:

I have the enormous privilege to address you all today. And I’m sorry I can’t be with you there in person, but I can feel the love and the patriotism for Iran in the room. And it is great to be back with you all. It’s great to see so many great leaders.

I see Prime Minister Harper, Vice President Pence, see Senator Lieberman. And of course, it’s wonderful to again be virtually only with you, Madam Rajavi. You have done great work. And your leadership, your leadership of the National Council of Resistance of Iran is laying the groundwork for a free, sovereign, and democratic republic in Iran. Bless you, for all that you have done for the people of Iran.

I also want to take just a minute to acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of so many Iranians. I’ve come to know some of them who have made their way out of the country. I’ve watched these protesters protest the regime’s brutality since September of last year for 10 months. For 10 months now, their outcry has been heard around the world. And they should know, you should know, the people of Iran who are listening to this today inside of the country know that you continue to be heard all around the world.

You remain an inspiration. You remain an inspiration for all of us. But we’re all here today because we believe in the same cause. We believe in the same cause that these protesters are fighting for, that one day, the Iranian people will no longer live under the brutal, oppressive regime that has sat in Tehran since 1979.

We all know this regime. It’s a regime that crushes its people and makes a mockery of the noble history of this great nation. It’s a regime that is undoubtedly a force for evil all across the world. We see it. I lived it when I was America’s Secretary of State. We’ve seen this evil. Especially over these past months. So many Iranian protesters were murdered for exercising their most fundamental rights, and many, many more were imprisoned because of the simple acts of faith and patriotism they demonstrated.

We’ve all watched two female Iranian journalists who stood trial before Iran’s revolutionary court. I hesitate to even use the word court. Their families were barred from attending. Their lawyers were barred from presenting a defense. And their only crime, these two women’s only crime, was that they told the truth and honestly reported on the death of Mahsa Amini last September.

Sadly, stories like these are now common in today’s Iran, and they’ll only continue to multiply the longer that this regime is given the resources it needs to remain strong. As far back as 2010, I spoke of the Iranian people and their history. That’s now almost 15 years ago. I spoke of the Iranian people’s kindness, the Iranian people’s respect for knowledge and reason, and human life.

Iranians want to prosper in their faith and their culture, and they simply want to allow their families and their nation to thrive. I must say, as I watch these protesters, as I see the people in the streets of Paris today, as I see all of you in this room, I have enormous hope.

I believe that the movement we’re seeing, led by all of you, is clearly different than what we’ve seen in the past. These uprisings have been led by women and spearheaded by Iranian youth.

They’re not calling for reform. They’re calling for freedom, something that is deeply consistent with Iranian history. Now, you all know this. You all know. You’ll watch the tweets today from the regime. The Ayatollah’s regime will try to discredit the protesters and you. They claim that the movement is being directed by foreign agitators. I guess that would be me or the protesters who are advocating for the return of the Shah’s dictatorship.

But this isn’t from the outside in. This isn’t about foreign agitators. This is about the Iranian people and Iranians across the world who understand basic freedom. And we, every one of us, just as the Vice President was a few minutes ago, we should be clear. This fools no one, least of all the folks in this room today.

The slogans heard all over Iran daily, they reject the Ayatollah’s future. As we’ve watched the protests unfold over these last months, we’ve not seen a movement in disarray with many warring factions vying for a claim. We’ve seen unity. We’ve seen a unified people demonstrating incredible bravery and cooperation to bring this regime down.

It’s been clear from Kurdistan to Sistan and Baluchistan and from Arabs in Khuzestan to the capital itself in Tehran. Every religion, every ethnicity, they’ve remained unified in their opposition to this regime and their hope and their deep prayers for a better future.

You all know this. The movement we’re seeing isn’t over because we’re seeing the true nation of Iran rebelling against its longtime oppressor. And I’ll never forget, we should never forget that this fight is coming at a dear cost. Some estimates indicate that nearly 700 protesters have already been killed, while between 20,000 and maybe as many as 30,000 have been arrested.

Regime officials have threatened to begin mass execution of the protesters in an effort to crush the protests. And their efforts, their efforts to murder and maim all across the world, remain strong. But protests in Iran remind us all that freedom matters, that this is something that’s worth fighting for.

When General Soleimani was threatening Americans and we took him out, we made sure he didn’t kill another American. We made sure he didn’t prosecute another Iranian. It was our responsibility to do what we could to help secure freedom for people all across the world and inside of Iran from the IRGC and their henchman, Qassem Soleimani.

We helped them because we know that the Iranian regime will consistently and forever oppose freedom, and we cannot permit this tyranny to stand. We know, too, that the regime, first and foremost, opposes freedom inside of its own borders.

We’ve seen this over the last 10 months. The outcry of innocent Iranians has been met with brutality. But the Ayatollah’s regime doesn’t limit its wicked scheme to the Iranian people. That regime in Tehran has long been the world’s foremost state-sponsored terrorism.

We see the precision-guided missiles with Hezbollah. We see it send drones across the world that the terrorist group uses to target innocent Israelis and other people that oppose the theocratic, kleptocratic vision of the Ayatollah and President Raisi, the butcher of Tehran.

Beyond the Middle East, we can see now clearly, too, that the regime counts Vladimir Putin as a major patron, supplying his forces with drones and other weaponry to kill innocent Ukrainians. Think about this. The regime recently unveiled its new hypersonic missile, which Russia helped to build. It continues to build the capacity to rapidly develop not only a nuclear weapon but an entire weapons program. And it lies about that very program.

Allowing this regime to prosper means that the cause of freedom will suffer within its borders and beyond. Why?

For four years, we worked so hard to crush it during my time as Secretary of State by applying every ounce of pressure and bringing along partners and allies who were willing to help isolate the regime.

This approach didn’t just cripple the regime, it paved the way for historic peace agreements in the Middle East. It became known as the Abraham Accords. For the first time, we put the regime at its weakest point, its weakest point in 40 years.

Iranians from every corner of the nation could see the regime’s epic incompetence that had brought ruin to their homeland. Food, gas, and other basic staples had become unaffordable, not because of American sanctions, but because of the regime’s action and its kleptocracy. The nation’s ability to respond to natural disasters like floods and earthquakes demonstrates the incompetence, arrogance, and evil of the regime.

It handled the COVID pandemic in a way that harmed the Iranian people as well. Look, all of this, all of this makes clear that Iran’s not working. The people know it. Finally, the whole world, that there remains a passion for freedom within the country.

I’m saddened that their message now seems to be falling on deaf ears. Certainly in the United States, it’s being ignored in the very places most important for it to be heard. Sure, you’ve all read that in recent weeks, governments in Europe, as well as the Biden administration in the United States, have been pushing again, like a zombie, to strike a deal with the Iranian regime.

It was a privilege to travel to Ashraf 3 in Albania last year and hear the chilling personal stories of resistance. We saw it recently raided. Too much applause in some pockets in the West, and many so on, was raided by the Albanian government. We should be clear, every one of us, this sort of action only happens when our leaders are more interested in appeasing the Iranian regime and cutting a deal than in standing with the Iranian people.

And that any such deal, formal, informal, or otherwise, would be a calamity for the Iranian people and for the world.

Releasing $7 billion from the Republic of Korea, giving it to the Iranian regime. As President Biden and Rob Malley are abandoning the Iranian people and enriching their purses, we cannot permit this to happen because the regime is committed to crushing its own people and spreading terror and mayhem abroad.

The Biden administration’s blind desire to appease and negotiate has made the world a more dangerous place. This is an utter betrayal of the Iranian people. And cutting a deal would grant the regime legitimacy. We should note it would also enrich it with an influx of cash and resources and authority. And we know this for sure. This wealth would not go to food and medicine and security for the Iranian people, but it would be used for evil.

Does anyone in this room really believe that the despots in Tehran will use it to help the Iranian people? Of course not. It’s laughable. We know that any deal will only further enable the regime to brutally oppress its people. But that’s not all. What resources the regime does not use to inflict pain and suffering on its own people will be used to attack free people all around the world, in Israel, in Ukraine, in Europe, in the United Kingdom, and indeed inside of the United States.

Many of you here today are from Europe. Ask your leaders this question. Is it possible to claim that you support Ukraine while you lift sanctions on the regime that builds weaponry for Putin’s army?

Ask them how you can oppose Putin’s invasion while you make it easier for Iran to send more weapons to Russia to murder Ukrainian children. No, if we believe in the cause of freedom, if we think it still matters from Ukraine to Iran, then we cannot condone the lifting of sanctions on the Iranian regime. Period. Full stop.

We must instead call on our leaders to support the brave Iranians who stand in opposition to their despotic government. They’re not the product of foreign meddling, these protests. They’re not some outside agitator. They are the fact that we know that the regime is lying and the Iranian people are speaking truth against the regime. They’re the result of 40 years of organized opposition. Now I pray that this will be the time for America and all nations who value freedom to truly support them.

This failed US policy that we’re seeing today shows a lack of support for these women in Iran who are risking their own lives. It remains the case that we cannot shower the Ayatollah with money and economic benefit in the prayer, in the hope that it won’t be used to inflict terror and oppression.

Instead, human rights, and counterterrorism must continue to be at the center of our Iran policy. If we want to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, we have to apply pressure until the regime changes. And that the foremost way, we know this, the foremost way to accomplish this is to support those inside of Iran in actively working to seek a government that loves them and honors them, and treats them well.

Look, I’m hopeful. The world’s learned a lot about the theocracy in the last 10 months. We’ve seen that its continued existence will make the world a far more unstable and dangerous place. The regime’s brutality has been on display for the world to see, and there could be no path forward other than supporting the Iranian people.

We can’t negotiate with men like Raisi. His crimes against humanity back in 1988 and the crimes he is now committing every day make him unsuited to even have a conversation with decent human beings.

I know that some of you in this room today have loved ones who are currently imprisoned in Evin and elsewhere or have loved ones who have disappeared or worse. I’ll never forget any of them. I know you won’t either. We pray for them.

A bit earlier, the Vice President quoted President Reagan. I want to add to that. President Reagan used to say that this will all end when we win and they lose. That is true for the Iranian people who must win and a regime that must lose. I know that your work will continue to make that more likely each day.

Thank you, God bless you, and may the Lord protect the Iranian people as they build a peaceful, prosperous Iranian nation. Thank you for having me here today. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

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