48th Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, addressed the first day of The Free Iran World Summit on July 1, 2023.
Mike Pence: American People Stand for Free Iran
The full text of former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks is as follows:
Your excellencies, distinguished guests, legislators, congressmen, members of parliament, former military leaders, president-elect of the National Council of the Resistance of Iran, Mariam Rajavi, and to all who are gathered here and on streets and in places around the world, I stand before you today as a former Vice President of the United States and as a private citizen. But I know I speak on behalf of tens of millions of Americans in both political parties when I say the American people stand for freedom and the American people stand for a free Iran.
A secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iranian republic that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed onward to a democratic Republic.
We gather today here and around the world to express our support for the courageous protesters who, particularly since September of 2022, have taken to the streets of Iran, putting their lives on the line on behalf of freedom. With one voice, we call on the free nations of the world to support the brave Iranian people and to apply maximum pressure on the murderous regime in Tehran. And together, we renew our commitment to the great cause we share, that for which we hope and pray and stand. The liberation of the Iranian people from decades of tyranny and the rebirth of a free, peaceful and prosperous democratic Iran.
As a former elected official and an American Christian, I believe that all people are created in the image of God. And the Iranian people have always had a special place in my heart throughout my public life. The American cause is freedom, and in this cause we must never be silent. The enduring hope for a free Iran can never be extinguished. That’s clear to me today, looking here and at those that are displayed on these screens. I can see in your eyes, I can see in the countenance and confidence in your faces, the people of Iran will someday be free.
And I’m proud to say that under the Trump-Pence administration, we did not turn a deaf ear to the pleas of the Iranian people. We did not remain silent in the face of the Iranian regime’s countless atrocities. We proudly stood with the freedom-loving people of Iran. We took action. We canceled the Iran nuclear deal, which had flooded the regime’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars, pallets full of cash, money that it used to repress its own people and support deadly terrorist attacks around the world. We imposed crippling new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard. We launched a campaign of maximum pressure, punishing the regime for its belligerent behavior and its assault on its own citizens. And we vigorously enforced sanctions to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero and deny the regime its principal source of revenue. And we made it abundantly clear from the first day of our administration that the United States would never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
And as history records, we did not hesitate to take decisive action to stop the world’s most dangerous terrorist. And Qassem Soleimani is gone.
On the day we left office, the Iranian regime was more isolated than ever before. But now, with the advent of a new American administration, we live in a time that threatens to unravel all the progress that we’ve made in marginalizing this tyrannical regime in Tehran. The current American administration is working overtime to restore the Iran nuclear deal, putting Tehran back on the fast track to obtaining a nuclear weapon. In fact, the current administration has admitted that under a restored nuclear deal, Iran would be capable of amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb in less than one year, even faster than what was allowed under the previous deal. It even waived sanctions imposed by the Trump-Pence administration related to the Iranian regime’s nuclear activities. And additionally, it’s actually worked closely with Russia to provide talks with Iran, even as war rages at the merciless hand of Vladimir Putin in the country of Ukraine.
These actions are ill-founded and dangerous. Appeasement never works, and it never will.
A renewed nuclear deal won’t lead to peace and stability, it will lead to more terrorism, more death and destruction, and a threat to our cherished allies across the region and across the world. It will pave a path. It will pave a path in gold to obtaining a nuclear weapon. A renewed nuclear deal won’t benefit the people of Iran in any way, shape, or form. It will empower and enrich the regime that has tormented and tortured the Iranian people for generations.
So today, as an ordinary American citizen, I call on the Biden administration and leaders of all freedom-loving nations to stand with the people of Iran, stand up for the cause of freedom and justice, and cease and desist all nuclear negotiations with Tehran immediately.
The Iranian regime has proven time and time again that it is incapable of moderating. Every olive branch extended by Western nations over the past 40 years has been unceremoniously broken in two. Only a renewed commitment to maximum pressure can change the future of Iran, and that must include recognition and strong support for the organized Resistance so well represented here today.
Peace is only possible through strength. Weakness arouses evil. And the truth is, as the world has witnessed, after a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan that has emboldened the enemies of freedom, the enemies of freedom are on the march around the world, evidencing Vladimir Putin’s unconscionable invasion of Ukraine.
Just two days ago, I traveled to Kyiv in Ukraine. I met with President Volodymyr Zelensky. I was inspired by his resolve, by the courage of the soldiers that I met, and the indomitable faith of the Ukrainian people. I visited villages torn apart by Russian attacks. I spoke to families who had lost loved ones and all their earthly possessions. I told President Zelensky that America will always stand with those who stand for freedom. And today, I say to each and every one of you and all those gathered here and all those looking on, just as the free world must stand with Ukraine, America will stand with the Iranian people against tyranny.
And the truth is, the Iranian regime has never been weaker than it is today. Four out of five Iranians now live below the poverty line. Corruption is at an all-time high. And all evidence on the streets of Iran is that the Iranian people are fed up. The American people can see it. The regime’s sole focus is now maintaining its precarious grip on power, which grows weaker by the day. That’s likely why they selected Ebraham Raisi to serve as their Iranian president. I hardly need to tell those of you gathered here just how evil Raisi is. Many of you lost loved ones at Raisi’s hand, lost homes, lost your livelihood. You bear the scars of his brutality on your bodies. Some of you barely escaped his grip with your lives. So today I join you in pledging that his crimes will not go unpunished. Ebraham Raisi is unworthy of leading the great nation of Iran. He must be removed from office by the people of Iran. And Ebraham Raisi must be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and genocide.
While the regime has never been weaker, the Resistance movement, I can tell, has never been stronger. Resistance Units in Iran are the wellspring of hope for the Iranian people. They are an engine for change from within during uprisings and continued protests. And every day they gain strength while the regime withers. With MEK’s leadership, teachers, workers, retirees have courageously taken to the streets hundreds of cities, 31 provinces. Students from more than 130 universities, even high school students have brought new energy to the cause of a free Iran. Protests used to be isolated and sporadic, but as we can see from all over the world, protests are continuing everywhere across the country, especially in the past nine months.
The regime has not been dormant. It has gone on to brutally murder hundreds in the streets. Tens of thousands have been unjustly arrested. And over 3,600 members of resistance units have been arrested or involuntarily disappeared. Innocent civilians have been sentenced to death. Yet nine months into this uprising, the Resistance network is only stronger. The Iranian people remain defiant and continue to demand their freedom. And we pray and we hope and we have confidence this is not just another protest, but the beginning of a revolution for freedom, freedom in the making for all of Iran.
And it’s thanks to the brave Iranians who have taken to the streets. And we pay special tribute to the women of Iran who have paid an enormous price and are leading the decades-long fight for freedom and justice for their families and for their people.
Hope is a flame in the heart of freedom-loving men and women. And that flame is burning brighter than ever before thanks to all of you. So be clear. All those you will hear from at this podium today and tens of millions that we represent stand unequivocally and without reservation on the side of the Iranian people and their Resistance.
But as I’ve said before, one of the biggest lies the ruling regime has sold to the world is that there’s no alternative to the status quo of tyranny and repression in Iran. But there is an alternative. A well-organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified, popularly supported alternative called the MEK. And thank you, Mariam Rajavi, for your outstanding leadership and personal courage. You’re an inspiration to the world.
It was my great honor, along with my wife Karen, to visit Ashraf 3 in Albania just last year. We heard firsthand about how the MEK has committed democracy to human rights and to the freedom and liberty for every citizen of Iran. The Ten-Point Plan for the future of Iran will ensure freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the freedom of every Iranian to choose their elected leaders.
Just last month, I was proud to join a group of more than 100 former world leaders calling on President Joe Biden and leaders of the European Union to join us in supporting the Iranian resistance and specifically Mariam Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan.
We want peace to come at last to Iran. Supporting the resistance is a prerequisite for peace. The regime in Tehran wants to trick the world into believing that the Iranian protesters want to return to the dictatorship of the Shah. But as I’ve seen firsthand and heard from the leaders of this movement and from the families that comprise it, the Iranian people do not want to replace one dictator with another. The Iranian people want to be free.
We know that Iran can be a great nation once again. We know the rich history of Iran, which stretches back to time immemorial, the story of a people who have made extraordinary contributions to art, music, literature, science, and commerce. And we know that story is far from over.
President Ronald Reagan said, there is no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. We know the vast untapped potential of the Iranian people. In my own country, Iranian immigrants so well represented here today have proven what people can achieve when they are free to pursue their dreams. All free nations of the world must continue to support the Iranian people in their calls for freedom and demand that Iran’s leaders cease their dangerous and destabilizing actions at home and abroad.
We stand with the proud people of Iran because it is right, and because the regime in Tehran threatens the peace and security of the region and the world.
But no oppressive regime can last forever. For inside every human heart is an unquenchable fire that burns to be free. Just as the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own sins, so too will be the fate of the oppressors in Iran. The day will come when the unelected ayatollahs release their iron-fisted grip on Iran and her people. A new glorious day will dawn. A bright future will begin, ushering in an era of peace, prosperity, stability, and freedom for the good of the people of Iran and the world.
And I ensure all of you that we will be with you. And we will pray with all of our heart that the day will come soon where a free Iran is a reality in the world. It’s been an honor to speak to you today at this historic gathering, at this world summit. And I do look forward to the day, and the day someday soon, when we will gather together in a free, open, and democratic Iran. So help us, God. Thank you. God bless.