During an international conference held in Brussels on September 15, Mr. Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada, featured prominently among the esteemed guests and speakers who addressed the event, which had been organized by the Iranian Resistance.
In commemoration of Iran’s 2022 uprising, Prime Minister Harper delved into the diverse facets of the nationwide revolt, and he offered a prognosis that this movement would ultimately lead to the complete dismantling of the existing regime.
Prime Minister Harper also scrutinized the Iranian regime’s propaganda, along with its supporters’ efforts to vilify the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and he raised pertinent questions regarding the regime’s vigorous campaign to imprison over 3,500 Resistance members throughout the nation.
Drawing attention to the grave errors of past Western policies towards the Shah regime, Prime Minister Harper emphasized the vulnerabilities of the clerical regime and urged the international community to recognize the Iranian Resistance and its comprehensive vision for facilitating fundamental change in Iran.
Excerpts of Prime Minister Harper’s speech follows:
Friends, we meet here today to mark roughly one year since the death of one woman, Mahsa Amini, set off nationwide protests against the theocratic dictatorship in Iran. Today the regime, and its appeasers in the West, will proclaim that the protests have subsided, never to return.
We know the opposite is true. The protests will return, as they have returned before, and each time they return, they are more widespread, more aggressive, and more enduring than they were before. Just as each time they are more brutally suppressed, with more imprisonment, and with more deaths so that they lay the groundwork for the next round of protests.
And so the cycle of protests and repression returns and returns, but it also escalates and escalates until it ends the only way it can end, with the people of Iran liberated from that vicious and evil regime.
This time, friends, the protesters burned down the ancestral home of the regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini. Next time they will burn the entire regime to the ground.
As I said, each time the protests expand, from the city to the countryside, from minority communities to the Persian majority, and this last time from men to women, although in fact, women have long played a leading role in organized resistance to the regime. Women of course like President Maryam Rajavi, and they have because Iranian women have long known that their basic human rights depend on the destruction of the regime and its primitive ideology, and its replacement by a free, constitutional, secular, and democratic state.
And friends, the forces exist on the ground in Iran to bring that future into being. As I’ve told you before, dismiss the propaganda that the regime is well-entrenched and that it has no organized opposition. If the regime had no such opposition, why would it expend so much energy in denouncing and demonizing this organization, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and all its organs and cells?
If such opposition did not exist, why would the regime imprison at this moment some three and a half thousand of your members?
No friends, the regime’s propaganda betrays its own lies. But I tell you, not just to dismiss the propaganda of the regime, but also the propaganda of the regime’s appeasers in the West. They claim much the same thing, that there is no organized resistance, no viable alternative to the vile theocracy and all that it stands for.
Dismiss the propaganda of Western appeasers, these self-styled experts, and dismiss them not just because their propaganda is morally reprehensible, but because it is also factually wrong. It always is.
Appeasers have always consistently overestimated the strength of regimes that govern solely by brute force, and consistently underestimated the underlying fragility and inevitable fall of such regimes.
The appeasers have been wrong whenever and wherever they have put such claims forward. But incredibly, in Iran, they were already wrong once before, when they assured us that the Shah’s regime was all-powerful and would forever be in control. Just 14 months before that regime fell, US President Jimmy Carter told a state dinner that the Shah and I quote, “Iran, under your leadership, is an island of stability.”
Almost a year after that, the CIA reiterated that, and again I quote, Iran is not in a revolutionary or even pre-revolutionary situation. Only five months later, the Shah fled the country, and his regime simply evaporated. And friends, as I’ve said before, if the Shah’s regime was vulnerable, how much more vulnerable is the Ayatollah’s?
The Ayatollah’s regime is even more dysfunctional. It faces even more overt opposition. And it has been rotting at the core almost from day one. Corruption is alive at every level. The economy only gets worse. Poverty keeps increasing. Inflation keeps rising. Services are non-existent.
No wonder the regime must resort to ever greater brutality. Because it has nothing, nothing, that would engender the loyalty of any ordinary citizen. So it resorts to ever greater brutality, but it must do so with ever-shrinking resources, except of course, when a Western government actually sends it resources. As the Biden administration recently did, once again, six billion dollars. What a disgrace that is.
Imagine the regime claiming that they have been subject to a cyber attack. The regime itself is one of the single biggest cyber hackers in the entire world. So we call upon the government of Albania to respect the fundamental rights of the people of Ashraf and to stand with them against the regime in Tehran.
Friends, let us again challenge the fundamental premise behind the appeaser’s belief system. That somehow, things could be worse if the regime fell. Worse? How? How could it be worse than a regime with an apocalyptic ideology and a relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons that openly lists the nations it wishes to wipe off the face of the earth? How could it be worse than that? How could it be worse than a regime that funds terrorism and war from Syria to Lebanon to Yemen and Iraq and even to Ukraine and beyond? How could it be worse than that? How could it be worse than a regime where the supreme leader is an extremist fanatic and its president is a mass executioner? How could it be worse than that?
So friends, I’ll say it again, the solution is not to try to strengthen relations with this regime. It is to do what my government did in Canada, close down the regime’s embassies around the world.
Now friends, in talking about the alternative to the regime, and of course there is such an alternative, I’ve always been very careful to say that it’s not my place to tell the Iranian people who should be their government. That is for the Iranians to decide, but we have an alternative to offer them. I remind you that I am a signatory to an open letter of over 100 former presidents and prime ministers from around the world that urges the globe to ignore the appeasers and instead reach out to organized Iranian Resistance. It’s really simple, stand with the Iranian Resistance and in solidarity with the people of Iran in their desire for a free, secular, and democratic state.
And friends, that is the future that you, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, have constantly and tirelessly advocated, something that needs to be acknowledged by all governments. Your commitment to free elections, to freedom of assembly and expression, to pluralism and the rule of law, to human rights and gender equality, to the separation of religion and state, to the autonomy of Iran’s ethnicities, and of course to a non-nuclear nation at peace with the world.
That is the vision on which you have staked your claim, and I believe it is a vision that the vast swath of the Iranian people are yearning to get behind.
So keep up the fight, keep the organs and cells of this organization in Iran and around the world active and fighting for that vision. Do so, friends, and it will come to pass, just as this regime will pass away.
Thank you for having me again. Thank you.