Events

Congressional Members Speaking at the Free Iran Gathering July 1, 2017 – Paris

Written by OIAC-US

U.S. Congressmen Ted Poe, Robert Pittenger and Tom Garrett

Congressional Delegation Among Some of the Dignitaries, Dozens from the United States

About 100,000 participated in this event from all continents

 

Congressman Ted Poe

Congressman Ted Poe

Time for Accountability Over Iran’s 1988 Massacre

 Congressman Ted Poe:
Thank you for inviting members of Congress to be here to talk to you about this important event that you are having.  My name is Ted Poe, I’m from the state of Texas, and I’m glad to be here. [applause] We are in a fight, a fight for the most important thing: freedom.  Freedom.  And we are in the fight, and I can tell you the three of us and other members of Congress, we are in the fight with you to continue to fight for freedom.  Because that is the most important thing any of us have in our soul is the right to be free.  The fact that many of you, so many people are here today, is proof that one day, one day soon, we will see freedom and democracy in Iran, your original home, we will see it.  [applause] The path to democracy is always long.  It’s always hard.  But important things do take time, they are not easy.  Have faith and hope that one day the people of Iran will be able to throw off the shackles of the Supreme Leader and become a nation committed to the rule of law and freedom for everybody.  And that will happen soon.  You’ve come a long way.  I mean there’s Iranian dissidents and exiles two and a half million throughout the world. And I think we have all two and a half million right here in this room it seems like. [applause]

For years, Iranian dissidents were stuck in Camp Ashraf.  And then they were told they had to leave Camp Ashraf for their own safety, and they were sent to Camp Liberty.  And when I was in Iraq, myself and other members, Dana Rohrabacher from California, we wanted to go see Camp Ashraf.  We wanted to see what it was like because we were hearing all kinds of things.  And we knew there was something wrong with the government of Iraq when Malaki said, you’re not going to Camp Ashraf.  In fact he tried to kick us out of the country when we wanted to go and see what was taking place for ourselves. The MEK was at the control of really Iran when they were in those two camps.  And during that time no one ever thought, no one ever thought that the MEK would be delisted as a terrorist organization.  We had to fight the State Department, we had to fight the mullahs in Iran, but I’m here to tell you today that was successful and we were able to get the delisting of the MEK. [applause] Thank you.

There were in the camps countless attacks at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty. Rockets came in.  Your friends and your family were murdered.  And to this day not one person has been held accountable for those crimes. Well, the day is coming when the murderers of the people in Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, when they committed those crimes, there’s a day of reckoning.  And some day they will be tried in a criminal court of justice for the crimes they committed against you.  [applause] Your friends and family have not died in vain, throughout the world, whether it’s in Iran or other places, because the Iraqi criminals someday will go to jail.  We all know who’s behind these attacks, we know who it was. It was the IRGC was behind all of these attacks.  And I have introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity. [applause] And we will get that done, I can assure you.  The good folks, and some of them are here, who were in Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, and finally resettled out of the country, no one ever thought that would happen.  We were fighting the State Department, we were fighting the United Nations.  But it happened. And resettlement took place in Albania.  And God bless Albania for what they have done.  [applause] And the plan was that the folks in the camps when they would be resettled, they’re responsible for paying for their upkeep, so to speak, and their survival in Albania.  And there was $500 million that the Iraqi government stole, and they have that money today.  And I can tell you that we are working through our UN ambassador and the UN to get that money back from Iraq and send it to the folks who are in Albania today.  [applause]

Iran, I think Iran got a good deal, the world got a bad deal, in the Iranian sanctions lifting where they now can develop nuclear weapons.  But we can overcome that because I think before they get to the point where they actually have nuclear weapons there’s going to be a regime change in Iran led by the people of Iran in Iran to change that situation.  [applause] Thirty years ago, thirty years ago, many of you over here, you Millennials as I call you, you weren’t even born.  But the government, Khomeini, murdered 30,000 people that year because they were political dissidents.  They wanted a regime change.  Thirty thousand.  And here we are almost 30 years later.  It’s time to have a day of reckoning for those people that were murdered.  And it is the responsibility of you young people over here to avenge the murder of those people, your families, 30 years ago.  [applause] So I say to you, you daughters of democracy, you sons of liberty, do give up.  Do not despair.  Because on the horizon, the sun is rising for a new Iran.  And as the sun rises it gets brighter and brighter, because hope is brighter for that feeling and thought and belief of freedom.  Freedom in Iran.  And so I encourage you young people, and the young people of Iran, because it’s always been the young people who have led the fight for freedom throughout history, and that is your responsibility.  And to those young people in Iran, remember that.  Take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations and make sure that the Ayatollah knows that you want a free and independent country and free elections.

This Tuesday is an important day in our history in America, it’s an important day in world history, because on July the fourth we will celebrate independence Day, independence from tyranny.  Independence from people telling us what to do.  And so as we celebrate in the United States Independence Day we will think about independence for Iran, so that they can be a free people.  And the day is coming when the mullahs will reap what they have sown.  They will be held accountable for their crimes.  They will be tried in international courts of justice. And the people of Iran will be free.  Do not give up.  Be strong and courageous.  Be bold, because it’s important.  [applause]  And that’s just the way it is.  Thank you very much.

 

Congressman Robert Pittenger:

Americans support freedom-loving Iranians

Congressman Robert Pittenger:
I’m Congressman Robert Pittenger from North Carolina. [applause] I want you to know something today, the American people love and support the freedom-loving people of Iran. [applause] The United States Congress supports the freedom-loving people of Iran. [applause] Well, I would like to ask you today, are you ready to hold the mullahs accountable? [applause] Are you ready to hold Khomeini accountable? [applause] Are you ready for regime change? [applause] Are you ready to get rid of the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world? [applause] Are you ready to restore freedom to Iran? [applause] Are you ready for honest elections? [applause] Are you ready for a democracy in Iran? [applause] Are you ready for equality in Iran? [applause] Are you ready for human rights in Iran? [applause] Are you ready for religious freedom in Iran? [applause] Now is the time.  [applause] When our forefathers met 241 years ago this time, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, for a Declaration of Independence for a new America.  Yes, from that we [0:01:47] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s what we want for Iran today.  [applause] So I want you to know as your brother, your friend, I’m a Christian, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, I respect you. [applause] And we stand with you, we work for you, we pray for you.  God bless you.  Free Iran. [applause]

 

Congressman Tom Garrett Jr.

The time is over for ‘business as usual’

 Congressman Tom Garrett Jr.
Thank you immensely. An amazing honor to stand in front of so many people who, like every other person in the world, love freedom.  My name’s Tom Garrett and I’m from the 5th Congressional District of Virginia where [applause] the first representative elected to serve in Congress was a man named James Madison who drafted the Constitution of the United States, and where our third president, Thomas Jefferson, lived when he drafted the following words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  [applause] The world needs to know the scope and scale of the oppression of the Iranian regime, the world needs to know. As an American I tend to break things down into American terms, so if you think that 120,000 people murdered by this regime in 1979 and 1988 and 2009 and you convert for the population difference between the United States, it would be the equivalent of all the Americans who died in the entire Second World War.  That was perpetrated by a nation on its own people.  Many times as many were imprisoned.  Many times again more exiled.  From an American perspective, that’s as many Americans as died in the Second World War, that’s a prison population not in prison for crimes of theft or violence but for crimes of thought and conscience the size of the population of New Mexico, and it’s an exile population the size of the entire population of the state of New York.  The world needs to know and I am here to tell them and you are here to tell them and we will tell the world. [applause]

Like many of the Millennials that my colleague Congressman Poe addressed, I don’t remember very well the events of 1988, but I do remember watching in 2009 during the Green Revolution, first with respect and awe and admiration, and then with shame and horror and disgust, as people rose up and demanded freedom and the world community and the American government did nothing.  And I will not stand for that, at the very least I will raise my voice and stand united with the people who insist on a free Iran. [applause] I didn’t go to Congress to watch.  You didn’t come here to watch. I came to change business as usual.  You came to change business as usual.  Let us put our friends and enemies on notice alike, we are many and we will prevail. [applause]

There can be no change however without addressing the instrument of horror that props up the oppressive mullahs. The IRGC must be eviscerated. I thank Congressman Poe, Congressman McCall, my colleagues, for the IRGC Terror Designation bill.  [applause] the IRGC controls the entire black market economy, they control a huge percentage of the entire economy.  They use those monies to fund terror literally across the globe, to oppress voices of dissent in Iran, and to kill Iranians in their own streets.  So I will say this, not specifically to the people of Iran gathered here today, but to the leaders from around the world, it is time for us to ask the world community if they would rather do business with the United States or with the IRGC.  [applause] And so in the spirit of universal brotherhood and respect for all peaceful practitioners of all faiths, I’ll leave by adapting a historical phrase.  It is my sincerest hope that I see each and every one of you again next year in Tehran.

Congressional Members’
Video Messages to
Free Iran Gathering
Paris – July 1, 2017

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

(D-CA)

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

 

Hello, as House Democratic Leader is it my pleasure to send strong support and warm regards to the advocates and friends of a Free Iran. The American people stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in your mission to build a democratic, free and non-nuclear Iran.

We stand with you to support the right of every Iranian men, women and child to speak freely without fear of persecution or arrest. We stand with you to support Iranian women, students and minorities as they drive progress towards a more democratic and free country.

We stand with you to support the aspirations of Iran’s young people. We stand with you in your efforts to advance peace and stability in Iran. And we stand with you to denounce the horrific 1988 massacre of political prisoners by the death committee. The persecution of political prisoners that continues today is unacceptable, immoral and must be condemned. Every Iranian deserves full human rights, dignities and freedom.

The treatment of women is especially concerning. Every country benefits, when it recognizes talents and contributions of women and girls to our future.

Thank you for your work, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your fight on behalf of the Iranian people.

Sen. John Boozman | Chairman of Senate Appropriations

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)

Chairman of the Senate Appropriations    

subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security

 I’m deeply troubled by the increased human rights violations in Iran, along with the regime’s continuing nuclear ambitions. I remain staunchly opposed to the Iranian nuclear deal that was negotiated under the previous administration.

I was proud to recently support additional sanctions legislation in the Senate that will penalize the regime for its non-nuclear-related activities and abuses.

Yours is a noble cause and it’s very important that we continue the dialogue on this matter. I hope it is a productive gathering. I wish you the best of luck, and I assure you that Americans stand with you in the path for democracy, freedom and human dignity.

 

Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey)

Senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee;

Ranking Member – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere,

 Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights,  and Global Women’s Issues.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to address the Organization of Iranian American Communities of the United States. Everyday you’re a voice for the voiceless, you fight for the rights of Iranians who remain silenced under a suppressive, brutal regime. I’m proud to stand with you and share your vision of a brighter future for Iran. A future in which all Iranians live their lives without fear and enjoy a thriving democracy that respects human rights and the rule of law.

But as we work towards that brighter future, we cannot ignore the facts on the ground. We all know that too often the violence, volatility and the profound human suffering that imperils the Middle East is linked back to the Iranian regime.

Across the region, Iran continues to threaten the national security interests of the United States. It continues to pursue a belligerent ballistic missiles program. It continues to align itself with Putin and it continues to prop up Bashar Assad’s brutal regime in Syria. And even as it continues to supply terrorist across the region with money, weapons and resources, the people of Iran continue to suffer under a repressive regime with absolutely no respect for the basic human rights of its people.

Some try to paint a pretty picture of reform in Iran but a closer look reveals chilling and deplorable human rights abuses. Your community is well aware of these abuses and I will never forget the critical role that you have played in exposing the true nature of the Iranian regime and their nefarious activities across the region.

I appreciate your support earlier this year when I introduced the bipartisan Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017.  Our bill not only holds Iran accountable for its ongoing ballistic missiles development and continued support for terrorism, it expands the scope of human rights violations eligible for sanctions. That includes punishing sanctions for those behind the extrajudicial killings of journalists and activists who seek to expose the oppression of the Iranian people. And I’m pleased that it passed the United States Senate by a vote of 98-2.

We must do everything we can to support them in their quest for freedom. Students and scholars, artists and political prisoners, men and women who believe in the rights of all people to basic human dignity.

Thank you for coming together and making their voices heard. I’m proud to stand with you in this fight for justice and human rights for peace and security and above all else, for a free Iran.

 

Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

 Hello, I’m Congressman Ed Royce from California. I have the honor of serving as the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee. My colleagues and I are deeply concerned about the ongoing threat posed by the Iranian regime which brutally mistreats its own people and exports violence abroad by sponsoring terrorism. Too many Iranians have experienced the devastation of having the regime seize their friends and their family and subject them to unfair trials with no access to legal counsel. And once detained prisoners face inhumane conditions with little access to medical care. Some of them are brutally tortured.

The regime also continues to limit free speech and foster violent discrimination against religious minorities. During the election this spring, the Iranian people were given a false choice between a hardliner and a hard hardliner, both of them handpicked by the Ayatollah. What does is say when close to 3,000 executions took place during the first term of the so-called reformer, Hassan Rouhani?

My colleagues and I in Congress will continue to press for sanctions on senior Iranian officials involved in these human rights abuses in this past year.

This past year saw the resettlement of the Camp Liberty’s residents from Iraq to Albania, where they are better protected from the Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies. This was welcome news.

But we still have a long way to go. A long way to go to securing the rights of all Persian, of all Iranians. The people of Iran deserve a government that treats them with dignity and respect. Which is why the US Congress will continue to push back against the regimes cruel and illicit behaviors. I thank you.

 

Congressman Elliot Engel (D-NY)

Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

I’m Congressman Elliot Engel from New York. I’m the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress. I want to bring greetings to all my friends at this wonderful FreeIran Rally in Paris. Thank you for the courage you have in standing up to the regime and saying that the Iranian people deserve the freedom that all freedom loving people around the world would like to have.

The government of Iran must stop imprisoning political prisoners. It must stop and release all its Americans. It must stop being the number one sponsor of terrorism around the world. The Iranian people again deserve to be free and by your rally today you are sending a clear message to the world that we will not stop until Iran is completely free and the Iranian people have the freedom that all of us hold so dearly all around the world.

Iran has been the number one state sponsor of terrorism and has worked with all the worst nations of the world in terms of the human decency and the human well-being.

So again I want to say congratulations, sorry I can’t join you but my heart is with you and we will not stop working together until Iran is free. The Iranian people deserve no less. Thank you.

 

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)

Senior Member of the House Ways and Means Committee

The Prominent Civil Rights Leader

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

 

To all my Iranian friends,

As you gather and meet in Paris, I wish you well. We need more than ever before a free Iran. Speak up, speak on and find a way to do what is right, what is just and what is fair.

None of us would be satisfied until all the people in Iran are free.

 

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

Senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Greetings to all my friends in Paris and especially greetings to those of you who celebrate with me this wonderful occasion which is what? The most important thing today, we are celebrating that those people whose lives were at jeopardy at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty are now safe and have been given refuge in Albania. Took a lot of hard work to get that done and it was a great loss, a great loss for the mullahs regime in Iran. Because they know now that you have the tenacity and you have friends here in Washington and throughout the world that would not see them murder these people who oppose the mullah’s dictatorship in Iran.

Now I want to make sure that Maryam Rajavi and all of you and the MEK know that I’m one of your team. I’m someone who wants to work with you in the future to make sure that the people of Iran are given a choice as to what government they are going to have.

The mullah’s regime as we all know has to appoint anyone who wants to run for public office in Iran. This mullah dictatorship has thus corrupted that society. This mullah dictatorship has been financing terrorism. This mullah dictatorship has what? Has suppressed the people of Iran themselves. It’s up to us to stick together; the people around the world, especially those of you and the MEK, with the rest of us in the outside world, stand together to what? Not reform the mullahs. They are not going to be reformed. We need regime change.

That doesn’t mean the United States should be invading Iran, it means the United States should be doing everything we can to support those people who believe in democracy and want to eliminate their oppressors and the mullah regime. This radical Islamic regime that does not reflect the heart and soul of the people of Iran.

Let me just note that we’ve got a lot of things that are happening. We know, for example, my government just a while ago gave 150 billion dollars to the mullahs. All we know is we’ve signed this treaty taking their word they are not going to produce these weapons of mass destruction. Well, we have to alert the people in the United States as well as mobilize the people of Iran against this type of nonsense. Together if we use our sense and we are brave and we stand up to the mullahs, instead of trying to buy them off, which is what I think that 150 billion dollar was, we can see a Free Iran.

When Iran is free of this mullah domination, we know that the people there in Iran, like the people of MEK, are a step above. They are educated people, there are people there who are very responsible, and have very sophisticated business, scientific endeavors, etc. Well we have one obstacle in our way, that’s the mullahs’ regime.

Today I’m very pleased to join you in Paris with holding our fists high and “­­saying the mullahs have got to go back to the mosque” and the people of Iran deserve to be free. And the people of the United States and other countries of the world that are free countries should stand with those people in Iran who are struggling for freedom. Thank you for letting me be a part of your ceremony today. God bless you and good luck.

 

Congressman Brad Sherman

Senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Hello to everyone in Paris attending the annual Iran Freedom Rally, including my constituents who have traveled to France all the way from the San Fernando Valley. I’m especially honored to know that Madame Rajavi is in the audience. I’m U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman from California’s best named city, Sherman Oaks and it’s a pleasure to once again speak to this annual rally.

For over 20 years I have served on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. I focused on trying to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and on implementing an American foreign policy that reflects our values and our dedication to human rights. I look forward to a democratic secular Iran that all civilized nations will view as a worthy partner. The Islamic republic regime is among the worse human rights violators in the world. Human rights abuses are not new in Iran.

In 1988 Iran executed thousands of political prisoners. That is why I cosponsored recently a resolution condemning the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre and calling for justice for the victims. Unfortunately there are those around the world who think the face of the Islamic Republic is that of Foreign Minister Zarif, a dapper, debonair gentlemen. That’s not the real face. The real face of this regime is Aylan Kurdi, that 3 year old Syrian Kurdish child washed on the beach in Turkey after fleeing a war in Syria in which 500,000 innocent people have been killed. A war in which the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the greatest supporter of the brutal Assad regime.

That is why I broke with my own political party and opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal. A number of United States sanctions on Iran remain in place. Additional sanctions are necessary because there are addition evil actions being taken by the ayatollah’s regime that need to be countered. That’s why I join in introducing the IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act. This bill would require the president to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist entity and require the administration to sanction it within 30 days.

I want to commend Madame Rajavi for her advocacy of democracy and human and women’s rights in Iran. Only the ballot box determines who holds power, when both women and men can speak freely and parties can debate. Only when there is a secular government that allows all to practice the religion of their choice, only then would the Iranian people be able to govern the country for the benefit of all.

I look forward to that day. Thank you. I’m Congressman Brad Sherman.

 

Congressman Tom McClintock

Member of the House Budget Committee and senior member of the House Natural Resources

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Hi, I’m Congressman Tom McClintock. The Iranian liberation movement is continued to grow and spread throughout the years. As the tyranny of the mullahs has become more oppressive the international resistance to it has become more resolute. The more the story of Iran is told, of its proud ancient heritage of freedom and civilization and of its current curse of despotism and terror, the more the world has rallied to your cause.

We have seen this in the liberation of the MEK freedom fighters trapped in Iraq. We’ve seen it in the growing opposition to the Iranian mullahs from other Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. We’ve seen it in the growing support for the grand resistance rally that meets today. And we’ve seen it in our own country with the rejection of the policies of appeasement and their replacement with the leadership and determination of our new presidential administration.

Today the world is awakening to the danger of a nuclear armed Iranian regime. Gone are the days when our government pretends that there is a morally equivalent between good or evil. Gone are the days when our government freed billions of dollars for the Iranian regime to finance its terrorist operations around the world. Gone are the days of one sided agreements that have propped up the Iranian regime while undermining international security.

The next popular uprising in Iran will be met not by ambivalence from the United States but by its wholehearted support both moral and material. They say it’s always the darkest before the dawn. I think it’s now clear that dawn is breaking over Iran. Rather than apologizing for freedom, our new administration has declared its unabashed support for it. Instead of leading from behind, whatever that means, we are leading, period. There will be no more palettes of cash for the mullahs, no more undermining the position of the Iranian resistance and no more patient for the atrocities of Islamic extremists. Churchill said it best, dictatorship, the fetish worship of one man is a passing phase, a stative society where men may not speak their minds or children denounce their parents to the police, or a businessman or small shopkeeper ruins it competitor by telling tales about his private opinions, such a stative society cannot long endure, if brought into contact with the healthy outside world.

The light of civilized progress, with its tolerances and cooperation, with its dignities and joys, has often in the past been blotted out. But I hold the belief that we have at last gotten far enough ahead of barbarism to control it and to avert it. If only we realize what is a foot and to make up our minds in time.

Thank you. God Bless you.

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee

Senior member of the House Committees on the Judiciary,

Homeland Security, and Budget Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Greetings, I’m Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and there’s so many friends gathered here today. I’m so sorry I can’t be with you and I know there are many great friends of mine from the great state of Texas. I know that they are here all the way from my great state, and like me, have for years advocated for gender equality, social justice and freedom.

I applaud all of you in Paris gathering today to say no to Islamic fundamentalism and to advocate for democracy in Iran. It is very important for us to be united, very important for us to stand together, and I’m reminded of a time that I visited with you in Paris. And I know the strength, the honor, the love, and as well, the respect for freedom and democracy.

For years we struggled and we finally triumphed over evil to free your loved ones out of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, in Iraq. I remember the stories of so many families who spoke about their loved ones, some so sick, some so young, and some who did not make it. But you persevered, you remained strong. And your perseverance finally paid off and I was glad to stand with those families who came to talk to those of us in the United States Congress.

Our efforts must now be focused on freeing the people of Iran. And to demand justice for our brothers and sisters inside Iran. I’m so glad that we are free, in the court decision here in the United States has indicated that you in fact are promoting and supporting democracy and freedom as well.

That is why my colleagues and I in the United State Congress have cosponsored House Resolution 188, which calls for my country and the United Nations to do the right thing. To hold accountable the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran. We will continue to work with you. As you know many of those criminals who had a direct role in that crime against humanity are still serving and unfortunately in the highest levels of the Iranian government. I hope that they in the government will recognize for Iran to come and stand with the world family that individuals must be brought to justice and must be held accountable.

I want to salute and thank my sister, Maryam Rajavi, who again I had the privilege of meeting to call as she has done, to call attention to the plight of Iranian women and minorities. She has stood fast, she has been strong.

Maryam, it’s so wonderful to know of your leadership and your fight for women and families and your leadership of free people. Thank you for your ten point plan for a free and democratic Iran as a model for the entire Middle East.  Your plans call for the ballot box to serve as the only measure of legitimacy for a future government in Iran. You are absolutely right. The precious right to vote is something so precious to all of us here in the United States. We fight for it under the Voting Rights Act of 1967 that brook the barriers of minorities who could not vote. That is what you are promoting and I salute you for it again. The rights of minorities are protected under your plan. Your plan has called for a market economy that is fair to everyone. So let us work together to help transform Iran, this beautiful nation into a nation that respects the rights of all people, the rights of journalists and human rights activists, families, men and women and children, college students, everyone in a nations where its citizens can flourish in freedom.

It’s my honor to say to all of you, have wonderful conference and talking about freedom is what all of us should be doing. Thank you all so very much.

 

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Senior member of the House Judiciary Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

 To my friends at the Iran freedom rally I send greetings. As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Iran human rights and democracy caucuses, it’s an honor to greet you today.  I have long been a supporter of the Iranian people for a free Iran. I strongly support an Iran that is democratic, secular and non-nuclear.

The Iranian people deserve a government that respects their fundamental rights and freedoms including freedom for speech, association, assembly and gender and religious equality. I continue to condemn the Iranian regime’s abuses of human rights and its support of terrorism. I’m sponsor of a resolution that condemns the government of the Islamic republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and calling for justice for the victims.

To my Iranian American friends, thank you for being here and for your unwavering support for the fight for democracy and human rights in Iran. Your courage is an inspiration to me and all members of Congress.

 

Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ)

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Hello everyone from your friends here in Arizona. I’m United States Congressman Paul Gosar. It is my pleasure to wish you a successful conference and to thank you for all your efforts to reform Iran. Your platforms respecting human rights, women and religious minorities is badly needed in Iran. Your hard work and patience will pay off. History is on your side, so stay the course. The eyes of the world watch your work and appreciates your efforts. Thank you from everyone here from the United States of America.

 

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)

Member of House Ways and Means Committee and Small Business Committee

Video Message to the Free Iran Gathering – Paris, July 1, 2017

Hello, I’m Congresswoman Judy Chu from California’s 27th district. I’m sorry I could not join you at the 2017 Paris Rally for Democracy and Freedom in Iran. But from here, in Washington D.C. to all of you in Paris, I want you to know that I stand in solidarity with you in your fight for freedom, democracy and human rights in Iran. I’m so impressed by the many students, scholars, former political prisoner, women’s right advocates and other leaders who have joined together once again for this important cause.

First, I want to say what a relief it is to know that the residents of camp liberty have finally all been resettled. For too long they were trapped in unacceptable conditions in Iraq and subjected to violence from Iran. But thanks to your commitment and your tireless advocacy, the residents of Camp liberty are today safe in Europe. But like you, what I truly want is for all Iranians to be able to return to a free and democratic Iran that respects human rights. That begins by opposing this repressive regime. Iran may have just had an election, but we know power still rests with the clerics. And under Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran continues to be a world leader in cruel and inhumane punishments. Hundreds are senselessly executed every year.

Of course, we cannot forget the continued imprisonment of Bagher and Siamak Namazi, who are held as American hostages.

That is why I thank you for speaking out against Iran’s human rights abuses. As a member of Congress, I know that we cannot let up, for instance I believe that the Iran nuclear agreement is a historical opportunity, but it cannot be a lifeline to Iran’s repressive regime.

So long as Iran’s leaders continue to kill their own people and support terrorists who kill others, I will continue to support sanctions and pressure. I strongly support your work to establish a free and democratic Iran that works with the U.S. and others to build a safer world. Not one that funds terror or threatens world peace, with a dangerous nuclear program.

So thank you again for all of your important work to promote human rights and a more free Iran and know that I’m proud to join you in this effort.

 

 

 

THE HUFFINGTON POST

 Senior Former U.S. Officials Reject War With Iran, Urge Reaching Out To The Iranian People,                    Organized Opposition

07/25/2017

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

HUFFPOST – On the heels of the major gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris on July 1, some thirty prominent American luminaries and former officials issued a joint statement expressing bipartisan support for the Iranian resistance and underscoring the need for a more firm approach towards Iran’s ruling clerics.

Among the signatories were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The letter scolds the ruling clerics of Iran for causing regional instability, engaging in egregious human rights violations and exporting terrorism and extremism abroad. The high-profile personalities and former officials rejected the view that Iran’s political establishment can be reformed. “The hope of some Western governments was that time would lead to moderation by the Mullahs or to the emergence of a reformist faction that could challenge the dominance of the clerical regime. The reality has been far different,” they stated.

Concerning Tehran’s regional role, the signatories said, “The Iran-fueled sectarian division of Iraq laid the foundation for the creation of ISIS…. Iran today commands and funds upwards of 150,000 IRGC, Shia militia and mercenary armed fighters in Iraq and Syria.” “We agree with the apparent new US policy of ending the previous United States overture toward the Iranian regime,” the statement added.

Among other signatories are former Senator Joseph Lieberman, former National Security Advisor James Jones, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former DNC Chairman Edward Rendell, former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway, , and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

They added that the “Tehran regime is uniquely vulnerable,” citing chronic economic mismanagement and fierce power struggle within the regime. “Mounting popular discontent has increasingly become visible in public,” they added, citing growing social calls for accountability for the “mass executions of political opponents, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners with a majority of them from the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).”

The luminaries said a “viable organization” exists to change the clerical regime. “Underthe leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman standing for gender equality, which is an antidote to Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, it is working every day to bring about a tolerant, non-nuclear Iranian republic based on separation of religion and state, that will uphold the rights of all.”

They added, “The National Council of Resistance of Iran … has the vision, leadership and courage to lead the way to the creation of a new Iran.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5977aba4e4b01cf1c4bb73f0

 

Iranian opposition upbeat as Trump Administration talks of regime change

Fox News
By Eric Shawn and Ben Evansky
July 2, 2017

As thousands of supporters of the largest Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, gathered outside Paris today, there is new confidence that pressure on the Iranian regime could finally lead to change.

Recent reports say the Trump administration is potentially considering seeking a strategy to try to topple the regime, and last week the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, put Iran on notice during a speech at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Iran.

“Iran’s destructive and destabilizing role in the Middle East goes far beyond its illicit missile launches. From Syria to Yemen and Iraq to Lebanon, Iran’s support for terrorism continues unabated,” she said.

“The continuance of the Iranian regime’s destructive destabilizing behavior will prevent it from ever having a normal relationship with the United States and rest of the world, and the regime’s continual oppression of its own people speaks volumes of its true nature,” Ambassador Haley said.

The new tougher stance from the administration is a welcome move for the leader of the opposition group, Maryam Rajavi.

“The United States and the international community must respect the desire of the Iranian people for regime change and recognize this right,” she told Fox News in an exclusive interview from her group’s headquarters outside of Paris.

“The overthrow of this regime, the mullahs’ regime, is the responsibility of the Iranian people and resistance. Nevertheless, we want the international community to stand with the Iranian people.”

Rajavi tells Fox News that her group’s activists inside Iran have stepped up their opposition to the government, and says a revolution against the theocratic regime could come from within.

“The Iranian resistance movement is in a new position and on the offensive in its showdown with the regime. Our resistance is an organized movement. The potential for an uprising exists within Iranian society,” she said.

Rajavi and others fear that without a stronger policy from the international community, Iran’s influence in the Middle East could only grow.

Tehran is said to be trying to create a so-called Iranian Shiite crescent, grabbing territory from its border through Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to obtain a foothold on the Mediterranean.

Observers say the moves are intended to create a Shiite land mass that could give Iran, and its proxies a border with Israel.

Mrs. Rajavi says the U.S. and its Arab allies need to push that back.

“From the outset we have rejected this reactionary and bellicose policy and seek amicable relations with the rest of our neighbors to confront this regime, the Islamic revolutionary Guard Corps must be designated as a foreign terrorist group and evicted from the region. More sanctions need to be imposed on the regime.”

Mrs. Rajavi said she is confident that the forces of democracy and freedom will eventually prevail.

“The Iranian people long for freedom and democracy, equality, and an advanced society. Moreover the Iranian people demand an overthrow of this regime,” she said.

Rajavi has called on international organizations to expel Iran because of its support of terrorism, restore sanctions on some officials and start war crimes prosecutions for those that she says are responsible for massacring civilians.

Iran, however considers the N.C.R.I a terrorist organization, a claim the group rejects. The N.C.R.I says the regime has executed more than 120,000 of its followers who oppose the regime.

Mrs. Rajavi alluded to America’s July 4th Independence Day, and the rights secured in the Declaration of Independence.

“This is stipulated in the American Declaration (of) Independence, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the people’s rights, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and institute” a government of their liking. Regrettably, so far, the western governments’ policy of appeasement has prevented the realization of this demand,” Mrs. Rajavi told Fox News.

Follow Eric Shawn on Twitter: @EricShawnTV
Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs.

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