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Speech by General Wesley Clark at Washington DC Summit

During A significant bipartisan summit in Washington, DC on March 9th, retired General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, spoke to the Iranian American community assembled to commemorate International Women’s Day and advocate for regime change in Iran.
General Wesley Clark

During A significant bipartisan summit in Washington, DC on March 9th, retired General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, spoke to the Iranian American community assembled to commemorate International Women’s Day and advocate for regime change in Iran.

General Clark addressed the detrimental effects of the Western appeasement policy, which has bolstered the Iranian regime’s increasingly aggressive and expansive activities, including assassinations, terrorism, smuggling, and criminal operations worldwide.

He emphasized a solution: the dismantling of the entire regime, citing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as the principal forces capable of achieving this goal. He highlighted their enduring commitment, courage, and determination, stating that their network within Iran has consistently demonstrated the capability to overthrow the regime over the years.

The full script of Gen. Wesley Clark’s speech follows:

General Wesley Clark: We Must Openly Recognize the Iranian People’s Right to Resist

Thank you. Mrs. Rajavi, ladies and gentlemen, General Jones, Ambassador Joseph, sorry, Secretary Pompeo. But what an honor it is to be here with you and to feel the force of this community in Washington and around the world pressing for change and democracy in Iran.

For four decades, the Ayatollahs have waged war, sparked conflict, and terrorized their own people. This regime in Iran is on its last legs. Isn’t it time to finish it off?

You know, for Americans, it began with the seizure of the American embassy and the assassination and murder of Iranian friends who had been educated, worked with, or associated with the United States. For the people of Iran, the nightmare of this regime was the dawning recognition that the intimidation and terror of the Savak was being replaced by something far worse, a suffering, suffocating, murderous grip on the aspirations and hopes of a noble people.

It’s time to end that suffocation. Let’s look at it first from the perspective of the United States. The regime in Iran named foreign adversaries, Satans, I guess to seek some kind of legitimacy. And for over four decades, its foreign policy has been duplicitous with the West, smiling on the one hand and on the other, waging conflict and war through proxies, aiming at domination of its neighbors in the region.

You know, the regime does run a global terrorist network that traffics in arms, assassinations, smuggling, and other criminal activities. Its Hezbollah affiliate in Lebanon controls much of Lebanon. It’s used as a base for aggression. It’s trafficking with Bashar Assad in Syria propped up that murderous regime. Its militia organizations in Iraq and Syria intimidate the legitimate governments of Iraq and are themselves engaged in terrorism. And it has cynically exploited internal frictions in Yemen to wage war on Saudi Arabia and now on international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The regime has developed ballistic missiles. It launches them from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, disrupting international commerce and, oh, by the way, attempting to perfect its system while it wages war through proxy.

The tragedy in the current war in the Middle East would never have happened without arms, funding, support, and courage, likely direction from the regime in Tehran. And we have to call that regime out for this.

In a few months, we can expect Iran to declare itself as a nuclear weapons state. The Ayatollahs probably believe that this will enable them to intensify their attacks on Israel in the West without reprisal. But they’re wrong. It will certainly provoke a nuclear arms race, destabilize the region, and may provoke a wider war.

I say this to my friends in the West. We can no longer afford to temporize, dawdle, appease, and hope in dealing with this regime that something is going to change. It won’t.

But it’s Iran’s own citizens, and especially the women of Iran, who pose the greatest threat to the Ayatollahs. They know it. And you are the key to peace and stability in this region.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and the MEK, have proven over the years that they have staying power, determination, courage, will, and the power to eventually overthrow this regime.

You know, for decades, those who challenged the regime to live up to its proclaimed pretensions of democracy have been mercilessly hunted down, imprisoned, and murdered. And no one knows it better than you all.

These periodic elections that were held, where Iran claimed to be the only democracy and the real democracy in the Middle East, weren’t real elections. The votes were garnered through illusion and intimidation. And the choices were just various cliques of the same tyrannical regime. There was nothing free or fair about them.

Iran’s regime has made a mockery of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, even as it claimed legitimacy for itself as a government. Since 2017, the regime has had to face a virtual powder keg of resistance. And even in the face of harsh, repressive measures against demonstrators, over 30,000 people were arrested, and many executed.

Since 2022, the resistance has not only continued, it’s deepened, led by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

We have to recognize and say our prayers for the some 3,000 people associated with the resistance who’ve disappeared through arrests, murders, or kidnappings in just the last couple of years. What a tragedy, the best and the brightest of a young generation.

And yet, still, more youth and women have joined. That shows courage, strength, determination, and a future. They join because they want a future of freedom. They want democracy. They want to live in a state that’s peaceful integrated and respected in the world community, not headed by a bunch of outlaw mullahs. They chose and they are choosing their future for this great country of Iran.

Since August of 2023, the regime has intensified its efforts against Resistance leaders living abroad. I see we’ve got some security here, and that’s not by accident. The regime has initiated charges, and held sham trials. It’s an effort to gain international support. And this is after 100,000 MEK members have been ruthlessly imprisoned and executed in Iran in recent decades. Of course, these new proceedings, are a total sham. They don’t have the norms. They don’t have the standards of a real trial. Amnesty International calls it like it is. They know what it is.

And we in the West must not recognize these proceedings as legitimate. We must not honor what this regime is attempting to do to the brave resistance leaders who live and work abroad.

Now the real message of hope was delivered by the people of Iran in the elections on March 1st. They delivered that message by refusing to participate in those elections. Even the regime couldn’t hide the fact. They admitted the participation was low. They said I think something like 40 percent.

Well, let me tell you something. My friends on the inside say the participation was 7 percent. And those were basically the employees and the families of the regime who had no choice.

So, the people have passed their judgment. A regime that murders its own citizens, its women and young people, has been delegitimized by its own people. The people of Iran are saying no more. But now what? Now what? Does there have to be a bloody uprising, a war for people to find their justice and freedom or for the region to find peace?

I think there’s another way, though none of us can guarantee that it’s going to be easy or safe or even quick. And that way is this organization, the NCRI, led by Mrs. Rajavi. This organization has leadership. It has structure. It has commitment. It has a positive democratic program for change. The Ten-Point Plan would bring democracy and human rights to Iran and peace and stability to the region. We have here the future government of Iran.

Look, I spent most of my adult life as a soldier, and I’m here to tell you that we can’t do it for you. U.S. boots on the ground, that’s not going to solve the problem. The only way the problem could be solved is by you.

But here’s the point for our American and European friends who are listening, and I hope they are listening. We have to face the truth about this regime. It is not reformable. It is not going to alter its policies, and no amount of pleading, cajoling or appeasing will change its trajectory.

We’ve got to condemn the sham trial of MEK leaders and refuse to honor any results. Instead, we’ve got to bring charges against the leaders of the regime in Tehran for terrorism and aggression.

We’ve got to openly support the rights of the Iranian people to resist, and to choose their own government as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Protest and resistance are not illegal. It’s mandatory in this circumstance.

And like Secretary Pompeo, I went to Camp Ashraf a few years ago. We’ve got to ensure the complete protection of the Iranian political refugees at Camp Ashraf 3 in Albania, and we’ve got to assure them that the rights stipulated in international and European conventions on human rights are respected and honored.

No more bullying by democratic governments trying to appease the regime in Iran, no more.

Now here’s what we in the West could do and should do. We should take away the legitimacy of the Ayatollahs. We should ban their regime from international organizations, confiscate their hidden wealth abroad, sanction their leaders, diplomats, and traders, cut them off from Western finance, technology, and trade that’s sustaining the Revolutionary Guards and their engines of repression, and above all, hold them legally accountable for the violence in the Middle East.

It’s not just a matter of politics. It’s not just a matter of deterrence. We must use the weapons of international law, and at the same time, we need to move step by step to recognize the legitimacy of the NCRI and enable the NCRI on a transitional basis to become the new government of Iran.

That’s the path. That’s the path forward for democracy, for peace and stability, and ladies and gentlemen, we cheer you, we support you as best we can, but the future is in your hands.

God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.

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