“What is true is that the torches that the NCRI held up for years, and have now been lighting the candles throughout the country, have not diminished at all,” former Democrat Senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman said in his remarks during a bi-partisan briefing at the U.S. Senate on Thursday, praising the struggle led by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), its president-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, and its main constituent group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
In his remarks on Thursday, Senator Lieberman outlined 13 points and policy recommendations for the U.S. government to support the Iranian people’s current nationwide uprising. Below is the transcribe of his speech revised for clarity
Thank you very much. It’s great to be back with you and to see my dear friend, fellow colleague, Kelly Ayotte, and Senator Bozeman for hosting this meeting in this great room. And just to say thank you. For the organization of Iranian American communities for once again bringing us all together at a really, critical time in the fight for freedom in Iran.
Let me start this way. When the history of the world in this year 2022 is written, I believe, two dates will stand out as turning points in international relations. The first is February 24, 2022, which was the day that Russia invaded Ukraine. The second is September 16, 2022. The day that a new wave of anti-regime protests led by women began in Iran after the death of Masha Amini, and those protests continue today, the 84th day.
Seven weeks later, my friends, and during the last decade, we have come often to this historic room. And to many others on Capitol Hill to protest, the government of Iran and to stand with the people of Iran. But this meeting today is different because those protests that began on September 26, continue. Not only undiminished but broader and deeper and more steadfast than ever before. What’s happening now in Iran is inspiring, but it’s also unprecedented since the Islamic regime took over more than four decades ago.
This has become a genuine uprising and I think it’s time to start calling it a revolution to liberate the people of Iran from the totalitarian government that has enslaved them for too many years.
So this remarkable historical event gives each of us, and today focus on our representatives in Congress, unprecedented opportunities that we maybe didn’t dream would happen this soon. But it also gives us responsibilities to support the heroes of the revolution in Iran and to do everything we can to help them achieve their goal, which is and must be no less than the overthrow of the totalitarian terrorist regime in Tehran.
And let me say first that we have a responsibility, historic, and moral to look back and to pay tribute to all who have held this hope of a free Iran alive for decades now, courageous Iranian patriots, both inside and outside the country.
Senator @JoeLieberman addressing our bipartisan Senate briefing in support of the #IranRevolution #IranProtests2022 @CNN @nytimes @dcexaminer @WashTimes @washingtonpost @FoxNews @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/dyK1kGfCB0
— OIAC: Organization of Iranian American Communities (@OrgIAC) December 8, 2022
I will say in this regard that no organization has done, to light candles of hope and freedom through the darkest days of repression and mass murder in Iran that the National Council of Resistance in Iran led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, and real history must note that, but we can it by noting it and expressing our appreciation itself. Somebody once said to me long ago, comparing, fire and water, that if you pour water from a pitcher, there’s less water in the pitcher. If you take a light on a candle and light another candle, the first candle burns, uh, as brightly as ever.
The lights that NCRI, MEK, and organizations of Iranian American communities have been lighting for decades, are now being held high. They have been spread by millions of Iranians.
What is true is that the torches that the NCRI held up for years, and have now been lighting the candles throughout the country, have not diminished at all.
The torch of the NCR and the MEK grows brighter in my opinion, with each passing day. The organization gives us confidence that the current regime will be overthrown, and most importantly, that when it is there, there will be leaders ready to guide Iran smoothly into its free and democratic future.
That is the organization that you’re a part of. Now, as we look forward, I think we’ve got to ask ourselves, what can we ask of our leaders in Congress on behalf of the freedom fighters in Iran?
Now, I am having set the table. I have a series of suggestions. What I want to say in terms of what we can ask:
First, the administration and Congress have to face reality. It’s impossible to make any trustworthy agreements with the regime in Tehran with their words and deeds. They have shown so clearly that they are implacable enemies of the United States and they are totally deceitful and therefore thoroughly unreliable.
I was sorry to see in just the last week that Secretary of State Blinken who I respect and like, has said regarding, America’s desire to end Iran’s dangerous nuclear weapons development program that the US always prefers diplomacy. We all always prefer diplomacy, but not with a country like the Islamic Republic of Iran which has repeatedly slammed the door to diplomacy in our faces. It’s time for the US to stop currying favor with the Iranian regime. It’s time for the US to stop trying to appease the regime, even by attacking the worst enemies of the regime, including, the NCRI.
It is time for the US to walk proudly and defiantly away from the demeaning negotiations with Iran for a new JCPOA, that game is over.
Second, President Biden really ought to deliver and address a public address on Iran speaking to the people of Iran, speaking to the Iranian diaspora, speaking to our people, and speaking to the world in full-hearted support of the freedom fighters on the streets of Iran and, against the government of Iran today, which is clearly an enemy of the United States.
Third, the US government should ask our E3 allies in Europe to invoke snapback sanctions under Security Council resolution 2231 that would formally end the JVPOA and restore the International Arms Embargo on Iran.
Fourth, the US should continue to work with Starlink and other companies with similar capabilities to provide free and secure internet for the Iranian people. Fifth, the US should create a special channel exempt from US sanctions to disperse frozen Iranian funds in foreign bank accounts to striking workers inside Iran. The conversions of labor and political protest represent a really significant threat to the Islamic Republic.
Sixth, the president and senior members of the administration should hold private and or public meetings with members of the Iranian diaspora, Iranian dissidents, and opposition groups, including this group. Given the connection of your membership to Iranians, fighting for their lives on the ground, establishing such a communication would be invaluable both to our government and to the Iranian Freedom fighters.
Seventh, our Congress should hold public hearings on the protests in Iran as Senator Menendez has already done. God bless him, including particularly the threats that have been made by the government of Iran against American citizens.
Eight, the US should work with encouraging social media platforms. Instagram and Twitter to stop Iran’s cyber offensives in suppressing the voices of Iranian activists through tactics like shadow-banning. Ninth, the US should expel former officials of the Islamic Republic who live in the US and sympathizers and supporters of the Iranian regime, and know who they are.
Tenth, the US should encourage our allies and partners to isolate Iran diplomatically. The Europeans still do not do that.
They should reduce the Iranian diplomatic presence, shutter their embassies, refuse meetings and support the US-led effort to strip the Islamic Republic of its membership in international organizations.
Eleventh, US and our allies in Europe should pursue multilateral sanctions against Iran’s most senior leadership, including the Supreme leader and Raisi, making use of our respective Magnitsky ACT authorities.
2022 Senate Briefing In Support Of The Iran Revolution | Joseph Lieberman
Twelfth, the US and Europe should focus on the families of Iranian regime officials who are living in the US, and Europe, revoke their visas, and confiscate their assets.
Similar efforts have been used successfully against the Russian oligarchs in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
And finally, the US government should strictly enforce our sanctions that are already on the books, including seizing Iranian oil tankers.
I know that is an aggressive set of recommendations, far-reaching, but just think of what, the government of Iran is doing. It is firing weapons on peaceful protestors in the last few days. It’s begun to execute protestors they’ve arrested, after sham trials.
They deserve thirteen points that I have raised and much more for what they’re doing and what they’ve done today.
Today, the people of Iran are putting their lives at grave risk in a heroic revolution against their government for the same values that are enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence, there are our values. Will we stand passively by and allow our enemies, sworn enemies in the Iranian government to prevail?
Will we look back and say, why did not do more at this turning point in history? Or will we do everything we possibly can to help the people of Iran achieve victory? The moral answer is clear. The answer in the interest of the United States of America and our values is clear. We must act boldly in support of the freedom fighters now on the streets of Iran.
We are entering a time of religion, if you will, religious observance, as Kelly said so beautiful. So, I end with a somewhat religious, political, statement, from Thomas Jefferson. And these were the words that Jefferson originally proposed for the Great Seal of the United States. And they are particularly apt for a government that claims to be religious as the one in Tehran.
Jefferson suggested these words: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” So today, America must stand against the tyrants with God and with the Iranian people.