Celebrating Nowruz and the new Iranian year, the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran organized a conference where former U.S. officials and experts on national security and foreign affairs, including researchers from think tanks stressed to keep the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards on the State Department’s list of foreign organizations, to increase sanctions against Tehran and supporting the Iranian fight for freedom and democracy in their country.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Soona Samsami, NCRI Representative in the United States highlighted the fact that the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei who installed Ebrahim Raisi, a mass murderer, as president to consolidate his regime and prevent the eruption of more uprisings has ultimately failed.
“Last year, Iran was the scene of major anti-regime uprisings every four months by farmers, workers, teachers, nurses, defrauded investors, steelworkers and fuel porters,” Ms. Samsami said, adding: “Instead of thinking which designations should be removed from terror machines of the Iranian regime, the U.S. and western nations should look for ways to hold the regime accountable for the ongoing and decades of repression, genocide, and terrorism. The regime’s leaders must face justice for four decades of crimes against humanity and genocide. Instead, the international community should recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the clerical regime and establish a democratic, secular, non-nuclear, Republic of Iran. Nothing can stand in the way of victory by the Iranian people, who have demonstrated incredible courage, resilience, and resolve in the face of adversities.”
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs in the Bush administration Amb. Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. said: “Iran continues to violate international norms. The crisis in Ukraine reminds us that international norms are what we must live by in a peaceful world. So, when this is over, mark my words, it’s time to have a major conversation about the return of democratic countries, the freestanding world, and groups like the NCRI, to support Madame Rajavi’s 10-point plan, which is perfectly consistent with all of our values.”
“Since 2018, there have been 8 major uprisings in Iran involving 200 cities and hundreds of thousands of people,” Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, a former U.S. State Department Director of Policy Planning said, adding: “The protests have continued in 2022. Resistance Units, organized by the main Iranian opposition, the MEK, and consisting of all sectors of the Iranian society, have been leading the protests and targeting symbols of repression all across Iran.”
Citing the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian army and its people, Ambassador Reiss added: “The freedom fighters in Ashraf 3, the symbol of Resistance for the Iranian people, have been in the same situation for decades. Whether in Ukraine or Iran, the cause is the same — the fight is for freedom, democracy, and equality. In both Ukraine and Iran, these brave men and women are showing the world that these principles are worth fighting and even dying for.”
Senator Robert Torricelli, former United States Senator from New Jersey also told the conference: “As we now see the international community in almost lockstep putting sanctions on the Russians for the destruction, they’ve brought the Ukrainian people we ask ourselves how about Iran? Why is it different? And do the people of Iran frankly deserve less simply because they’re not in the heart of Europe? Do we not all have the same standards and the same rights? And as the administration negotiates with Tehran, mullahs insisting that the Revolutionary Guard be lifted from the terrorist list, we resoundingly say no. What has changed? How is the Revolutionary Guard any less terrorist today than they were yesterday or when they were killing American soldiers in Iraq?”
“Those of us who may care about Iran but are not Iranian are no less determined the Iranian people will be free and this nightmare will end,” concluded Senator Torricelli in his powerful remarks.
Discussing the Iranian regime’s nuclear advancements and citing documented evidence that Tehran has been working non-stop on their nuclear program since 1979, Hon. Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States added: “I submit to you that removing the IRGC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations would actually be even worse than not having placed the organization on the list in the first place. That would in effect be the United States saying that the IRGC, which is one of the two entities responsible for Iran’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism, that the IRGC is not itself a terrorist organization.”
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control & International Security also told the conference: “The Iranian regime will never, will never give up its nuclear weapons program. It is a weak regime. It is a desperate regime at war with its people. It seizes the lesson from Gaddafi and Libya and likely now from Ukraine that it must have a nuclear weapons capability as a guarantee to deter outside intervention in the civil conflict that is certain to come as the Iranian people rise up in their demand for freedom and dignity. It is this basic fact that should guide U.S. policy, providing hope and assistance to the Iranian opposition, not a lifeline to the mullahs.”
“We have the Russians negotiating for America to renew the JCPOA,” Dr. Steven Bucci, visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense said. “At the same time, we’re asking Iran and Russia, two countries that we have sanctioned, to pump more oil for us because of purely domestic concerns… We must stop this foolishness of trying to work with the mullahs return to operating from a position of strength and maximum sanctions and do our best to end this horrific regime and work toward true freedom for the Iranian people.”
🔶 Watch NCRI-US Online Conference:
🔷 Policy Experts to Assess Tehran's Threat, Prospects for Change in Iran
🔷 Iranians’ Aspirations for Freedom and Democracy in the New Iranian Year
▶️ WHEN: Friday, March 25, 2022, 11:00 am EDT#Iran #ViennaTalks https://t.co/EvmfXZOaMd
— NCRI-U.S. Rep Office (@NCRIUS) March 22, 2022
Warning about offering concessions to Tehran, Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, former Director of the National Counterproliferation Center and Special Adviser to the Director of National Intelligence said: “Over the years, we’ve seen Iran’s behavior. We’ve seen what they’ve done with Hezbollah and Lebanon. We’ve seen what they’ve been doing with the Houthis in Yemen… This preceded the JCPOA and subsequent to the JCPOA in 2015. I think we should remember this, when we were talking about the JCPOA and talking about implementing it, there was hope, some sense that with this Iran will moderate its behavior. It will cease its terrorist activities, its intrusive threatening behavior, whether it be in Yemen, whether it be in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc. But this has not happened.”
Reminding of the hundreds of American lives that have been lost or maimed in the war in Iraq, Khobar Towers, Syria, and elsewhere due to the IRGC terrorist acts, Hon. David Shedd, former Acting Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency warned about delisting the IRGC from the State Department’s FTO and said: “With the courage and the forthrightness of that opposition that speaks up on a daily basis against this regime in Tehran, we need to stand with the Iranian people by not delisting the IRGC and not acceding to a demand that is done through a third party that is the Russians and the Chinese and other members of this negotiating team that have been in Vienna while we sat outside in the anteroom waiting to see what comes out of there… I wish it were a more glowing perspective for 2022, but hope springs eternal and we stand with the Iranian people in speaking up against foolish and bad policy and ill-conceived policies that ultimately will damage not only Iran but the United States and those who stand for freedom.”
Discussing how Iranians have been fighting the brutal regime in Tehran, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs told the conference: “Another area that really stands out as egregious in terms of human rights violations is that of women’s rights and dignity. They’re also heavily restricted in Iran. Married women cannot get a passport or leave the country without their husband’s permission. And a woman considered disobedient or for no reason at all could be beaten and injured. Her children could be taken away from her. The regime has really failed miserably also in addressing the epidemic, truly epidemic of domestic violence. So, human rights violations have been systemic to Iran.”
“So, as we come together to celebrate the new year, let us be reminded of the strength of those freedom-loving peoples in Iran and around the world, and that very hope for a new day,” Amb. Dobriansky concluded.
Jonathan Ruhe, JINSA Director of Foreign Policy said: “My organization closely tracks the regime’s missile and drone attacks around the region. And just to give everyone sort of a brief snapshot, I’ll just note that in 2015 when the original deal was agreed, Iran and its proxies used roughly 100 total projectiles in attacks around the Middle East. Most of these projectiles were simple, relatively rudimentary, unguided short-range rockets. By comparison, just last year that number was up to 750, compared to 100 seven years ago, and these were mostly advanced, longer-range, and much more prices drones and ballistic missiles. This represents a major upward trend in Iranian capabilities, and it will only get worse with sanctions relief.”
“The major thing we should be thinking of right now is, if Iran were to get a nuclear weapon, it would change the dynamic in the Middle East,” said General (ret.) Chuck F. Wald, former Deputy Commander of United States European Command, warned: “This would handcuff the United States from the standpoint of our participation there and our negotiations with other countries in the Middle East. It’s going to definitely change our stature with our allies. And the IRGC being taken off the terrorist list would be a huge mistake and actually immoral.”
Offering technical insight about Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs, Dr. Behzad Raofi, Project Verification, and Validation Lead Engineer and Chief Validation Engineer for Space Missions told the conference: “As an Iranian-American who loves to see a free, democratic, and secular nonnuclear Iran, the final message I’d like to leave you with is that despite the false and deceitful show of external strength, the Iranian regime’s existential problem is internal and related to its defiant population who want positive change in Iran. The main opposition, NCRI, and MEK are organized, increasingly strong, and gaining momentum among the defiant youth of Iran.”
Discussing IRGC’s systemic exploitation of Iran’s economic structure and the consequential crises thereof, Dr. Siamack Shojai, Professor and former Dean of The Cotsakos College of Business, William Paterson University said: “The outside world has two choices in my opinion. Number one, to continue not to learn any lessons from the past 20 years or the past 42 years, and more or less continue the game of cat and mouse and also the policy of appeasement and let the Revolutionary Guards and the clergy have access to billions of dollars… The other choice and I am going to conclude here, the other choice of the free world is to join the Iranian people, to hear them, and to assist them, to stand by them and hope that through their direct effort and the real and full support of outsiders, including the United States of America, this regime will be sent to history and a free democratic and secular Iran will be basically prevailing in Iran and will build the future of Iranian people.”