Senate Briefing: Iran Policy Countering Regime’s Threat as Iranians Quest for Freedom
During a Senate briefing in Washington, D.C. on October 26, political figures and senators across the spectrum convened to address the Iranian regime and the persistent unrest in the Middle East. General James Jones, former United States National Security Advisor, underscored the necessity of rejecting policies of appeasement toward the Iranian regime.
He highlighted Tehran’s role in fomenting instability in the region, notably in the Palestinian conflict. General Jones suggested that without the interference of the Iranian regime, a two-state solution, widely seen as the most feasible and lasting resolution to the prolonged and tragic conflict, might have been attainable as early as 2008.
Advocating for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) as a credible alternative to the current regime, General Jones called for a shift in policy that ceases to placate the Iranian leadership. He further emphasized the importance of safeguarding political refugees in Ashraf 3, located in Albania, and reinforcing sanctions against the regime.
The core of General Jones’s address emphasized that the future stability of the Middle East and the global landscape hinges on the trajectory of Iran, underscoring the potential for a free and democratic Iranian republic to nurture regional peace and cooperation. He urged the international community to stand behind the Iranian people’s quest for democracy, human rights, and peace in the region.
General James Jones: Tehran Leverages Terrorism to Divert Attention from Internal Unrest
The full text of General James Jones’s speech follows:
Thank you, thank you very much. And thank you for that postscript. I’m sorry to say that I’m only number 21 on the list. I was trying to break into the top 10, but maybe that’ll happen sooner or later. I’ll be up there with General Clark.
Well, good morning. Yes, it is still morning. Good morning to all of you. I’m honored to stand before you today, not to dwell on the challenges we face, but to emphasize hopefully some potential solutions.
It’s true that many view the current Middle East landscape as one of permanence. Believing the turmoil is the status quo, the Ayatollahs in Iran have perpetuated this notion, leading us to think there is no option, but to navigate this chaos patiently, and in doing so, reach out to them as responsible partners to resolve this decades-long crisis.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a recipe for disaster should we choose that path. It’s as though we would invite the arsonists to come and put out the fire that they started, and that can’t be part of the solution, and it must be rejected. And so too should we reject the policy, any policy of appeasement for the current government of Iran. That is also not going to work.
The regime in Iran paints itself as both the creators and curators of peace, which is an untenable paradox. It has long sabotaged Middle Eastern stability and exported terror and extremism beyond Iran’s border to maintain its fragile grip, an increasingly fragile grip on power at home, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Palestinian cause.
Without Iran’s interference, a two-state solution, the only viable, really, and lasting outcome of this decades-long and tragic conflict might have already been achieved as early as 2008, and for reasons that we don’t have time to go into here, that was not achieved, but it was a very, very close call and demonstrated that in Israel and in the Palestinian cause, we have two leaders at the time. One was willing but not capable, and the other one was capable but not willing, and we have to fix that.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Jihad, which staunchly opposed Israel’s existence, have consistently undermined the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, but as most of you would agree, without Iran’s financial, ideological, political backing, the Hezbollah, Hamas, and other forces of the so-called newly described Axis of Evil, the resistance would falter, much like a plant devoid of its essential nutrients and soil. The Iranian regime is the undeniable epicenter of regional instability and chaos.
So our message has to be very clear. While Iran sows chaos abroad, its people at home are demanding change and increasingly demanding change. The regime’s terror tactics can’t go unchecked, nor should its brutal suppression of the Iranian people.
The world watches in horror how the regime’s security forces, first and foremost, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, murdered 750 protesters in cold blood, including at least 71 children and 60 women during the September 2002 protests. But the international community, and in particular, Western democracies, must do much more than simply watch or issue statements of condemnation.
This is mainly because contrary to what the mullahs and their advocates promote, some of whom were exposed in recent days in Washington, the world must know that there exists an alternative: the National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI. This path doesn’t require military intervention, but simply a global policy shift that stops placating the current regime.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, Iran has strategically utilized this situation, fostering divisions among Palestinians and undermining their legitimate leadership. Tehran has consistently opposed peaceful solutions, seeking only to bolster factions that mirror their divisive sentiments.
Why this support for proxy groups and the use of hostages? It’s simple, one word: desperation. Tehran leverages these tactics to divert attention from internal unrest.
The regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and his handpicked president, Ebrahim Raisi, and his shock troopers, the IRGC, capitalize on perceived Western passivity, continuing their reign of terror unchecked. This has included cyber attacks on other countries, including Albania, solely for sheltering opposition forces.
So what is the solution? The solution is, in the end state, that the regime will fall. As the NCRI warned decades ago, the danger of Tehran’s fundamentalist meddling in the Middle East is 1,000 times more significant than its mad dash toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Indeed, Islamic fundamentalism emanating from Iran has now emerged as one of the new family of global threats.
The ony path to regional peace, it seems to me, lies in supporting the Iranian people’s aspirations for change and a democratic republic devoid of any form of religious or monarchistic dictatorship.
The Iranian people’s desire was best manifested in their slogans widely chanted in the streets of Iran over the past few years: “Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader.”
While Tehran steps up its oppression, a beacon of hope emerges in the form of the NCRI and its main component, the MEK, embodying the true spirit of Iran. The sacrifices of the Iranian Resistance, notably women, over the past 40 years are a testament to their commitment to the ideal of freedom in Iran, and their leadership offers a promising vision for a new Iran.
So, despite intense repression, the people’s resolve has strengthened. Iran, with its potent blend of tyranny, economic distress, incompetence, and corruption, is a ticking time bomb.
Events like the 1988 massacre and the election of Raisi only fueled this volatile mix. The 2022 uprising, despite its heavy toll, showcased the regime’s crumbling power, as well as the Iranian people’s determination for change.
The regime has indeed tried creating decoy alternatives. Lacking genuine support, these so-called alternatives, among them the remnants of the deposed monarchy, have been short-lived, and their real aim has always been to undermine the genuine opposition. Their lack of ability to gain any traction is before anything else because they want to take Iran to its dark and oppressive past.
The regime’s expenditure on suppressing its people and backing foreign despots, despite its citizens languishing in poverty, underscores its priorities. But change is inevitable. And the disenchantment among the masses is palpable, and the opposition’s growing popularity, especially among the youth, and the expansion of continued resilience of its Resistance Units in the face of adversity, are symbolic of the Iranian people’s support for change, and the change the NCRI promises.
The NCRI, led by the wonderful Mrs. Rajavi, whom I admire and have known for a number of years, offers a genuine alternative. Her Ten-Point Plan articulated two decades ago represents a future of religious autocracy, aiming for a secular, democratic, and nuclear-free Iran.
This is what I call a truly Jeffersonian vision, and I constantly remind myself and reread her Ten-Points, because every time I read them, I’m inspired by them. This Jeffersonian vision resonates deeply with the global community, evidenced by widespread endorsements from many nations and leaders.
It’s time for a policy overhaul. Iran’s regime must answer for its atrocities. Sanctions should be enhanced. And prior UN Security Council resolutions should be reinstated.
The United States, and indeed the world, must unequivocally support the Iranian people’s request for democracy. We must protect political refugees, like those in Ashraf 3, from the regime’s clutches.
So, ladies and gentlemen, the future of the Middle East, and indeed global stability, hinges on Iran’s trajectory. A free, democratic, and progressive Iranian republic can act as a catalyst, fostering regional peace and cooperation. So, the global community must renew and enhance its support for the Iranian people’s aspirations, and ensure that their quest for freedom and justice is not in vain.
So, it’s time to look beyond the headlines, beyond the propaganda, and recognize the potential of a nation held hostage by its rulers. Let’s stand united in supporting the Iranian people in their quest for democracy, for human rights, and regional peace.
We must stand with them because it’s consistent with our own values and because it will also crucially serve regional and global peace and security.
Thank you very much. Thank you.