On Saturday, renowned American politicians, attended a conference in Washington D.C., in solidarity with the nationwide Iran uprising. The event, organized by the Organization of the Iranian-American Communities (OIAC), also featured Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), as its keynote speaker.
The conference and its speakers delivered policy recommendations vis-à-vis the revolution in the making in Iran and the world community’s responsibility in supporting the Iranian people’s legitimate demand for regime change. They also underlined the role of the organized Resistance in the current uprising.
THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED UPON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT AT THE CONFERENCE
In her opening remarks, Dr. Soolmaz Abooali said: “The uprising is focused on rejecting the regime in its entirety. They have also made it clear their aim is not to return to the tyranny of the Shah. The Iranian people are looking forward to a bright future. Women have played a significant and leading role in this uprising. Gen Z is also playing a leading role in the uprising. They have mentors in the earlier generations. They have seen their parents stand against the mullahs and are determined to continue the fight until victory is achieved. Many of these youths have chosen to join the Resistance Units.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran:
Today, the world is suffering from terrorism, war, and insecurity due to the religious tyranny in Iran, but our message today is that Iran’s uprising bares a gift for the Middle East and the world: peace, friendship, and peaceful coexistence.
The regime wants to make sure that nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 group continue because it needs to continue the talks with the West to suppress and confront the uprisings.
Iran’s people have risen to defeat the monster of repression and terrorism. They have chosen to pay the price of freedom with their blood. May the world rise in solidarity.
Today, the world is suffering from terrorism, war, & insecurity due to the religious tyranny in Iran, but our message today is that Iran's uprising & #IranRevolution bare a gift for the Middle East and the world: peace, friendship, & peaceful coexistence.pic.twitter.com/WQm3qDApJH
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 17, 2022
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:
I want to begin by recognizing president-elect Maryam Rajavi and her leadership of the National Council of Resistance of Iran which is laying the groundwork for a free sovereign and democratic republic in Iran.
Freedom is absolutely on the march and all of us need to come together and speak with a single voice that the Iranian people deserve their basic freedom—it’s what they’re demanding.
The world is finally waking up to the fact that the regime does not represent the people of Iran. Iran’s future does not lie with the radical theocratic regime that took power there in 1979. It lies with the brave protesters who have for months demanded basic freedom and called for an end to this regime.
The future of Iran of course as we all know and during my time as Secretary of State, I worked diligently on, the future lies with the Iranian people.
At this moment though, the counter-revolutionary founding of the theocratic regime resides at the heart of Iran’s multiple conflicts.
There’s one conflict that is most important to understand and appreciate in order to restore Iran to its rightful place in history. This is the central fight. It’s the one that we’re seeing play out as we sit here today in Washington DC. It’s the fight in the streets, in the mosques and in the minds of the Iranian people. It is the divide between the people and the organized opposition seeking freedom and democracy on one side and the entirety of the regime on the other. Iranians want to prosper in faith and culture and allow their families to thrive.
It is undeniable that the regime reaps the harvest of suffering and death in the Middle East at the expense of its own citizens. The regime is headed by Ayatollah, Ebrahim Raisi, and the IRGC. It is revolutionary in its efforts and in its zeal. It is brutal, it is theocratic, it is craven and kleptocratic too. Its leadership killed their own by the thousands.
There could be no hope to moderate or cooperate with the regime led by such men. We knew that the difference between Zarif and Rouhani and the Ayatollah was insignificant. We rejected this idea in the Trump administration. It mattered because the Iranian people were watching and learning about our understanding of the regime.
This is not a partisan issue. This matters to every American, every human being, and all of America needs to get this right.
Many of the same folks from team Obama are now beginning to come to understand that this administration’s approach is going to be unsuccessful.
Our cooperation with allied nations to reduce the regime’s external capabilities had a real impact on its ability to foment terror on its own people as well. Not only the hard power tools but also information warfare. Fighting against it was critical to the success of this mission and will be critical to its continued success.
After only twenty months, the maximum pressure campaign had begun to bleed the regime dry. This mattered to our friends and allies in the region. It mattered to the Gulf Arab states but most importantly, we knew it would ultimately matter to the Iranian people themselves.
The Resistance Units in Iran, those noble Iranian patriots, were strong as they had ever been. Their optimism was increased, and justifiably so. The people inside the country knew they had an administration that supported them.
One of the true low points of the regime you can actually see the effects of the work that we did with the election of Raisi just over a year ago. Turn-out was the lowest since 1979, marking a total rejection of the regime by its own people. I think the protests you see today, observed that this was a man bereft of any legitimate authority.
These uprisings shook the very foundations of the regime in its entirety. The Iranian people pin no hope on elections overseen by the Ayatollah. They can’t see that as a conduit for change and they are certainly right. Now, the regime 40 years on, is at its most uncertain point ever. Iranians not just in Tehran but indeed from every corner of the nation can see the failure of the regime to deliver on the promise that the regime itself made.
I think every Iranian is becoming closer to working towards the shared vision of changing the very nature of the leadership inside Iran.
Raisi has already failed. He has failed to crush uprisings now 90 days on, and he has certainly failed to break the noble spirit of dissent among the Iranian people. He will not break it.
All of us must be prepared to stand with our partners and allies against the regime’s threats.
Today, 40 years of work and 40 years of resistance against the regime’s brutal repression have now come to a head. I can feel it, you can see it, the world can see it, and the movement we are seeing today is clearly different than what has happened before. The Ayatollah can see it too; the uprisings led by women spearheaded by Iranian youth.
It’s remarkable, too, to note they’re not calling for simple reforms. They’re calling for freedom. They’re calling for a regime that fundamentally treats its citizens in different ways. They want a democratic, secular, and free republic.
Tehran wants to discredit the protesters by painting them as driven by foreign agitators. It is not so. They’re saying that they are advocating for the return of others of other dictatorships; this is not so either. They want freedom.
I’ve not seen a movement in disarray. Rather I have seen a united front. Many warring factions vying for acclaim don’t exist. It is a people demanding a singular set of freedoms.
These protests are about a deep recognition that this regime is incapable of changing. The entire world, and especially the Biden administration, must consistently, daily, repetitively, deeply, and unconditionally condemn these threats.
Three months of powerful unyielding protests and uprisings don’t happen randomly. They’re not the product of foreign meddling. The regime loves to lie and say that it is so. These protests are the result of 40 years of organized opposition.
If we want to keep Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, we have to apply pressure to them deny them resources. The program of sanctions we put in place was productive. It was useful. But in the end, it will be the Iranian people who drive the true change.
Former US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke:
Mrs. Rajavi has put forth a ten-point plan for the future of Iran, which is governed by the rule of law, which is so fundamental to a free and just society. And this plan has been endorsed by more than 250 Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress.
The United States of America must stand in full solidarity with the people of Iran and fully support their desire to be a free people. You are waging a heroic uprising against a corrupt and brutal regime.
The people of Iran have suffered under the current regime for too long. And with the protests the social and political unrest and major national uprisings of recent years and now the nationwide protest of the last several months, it is clear that the Iranian people want fundamental political change that will transform the current system of despotic religious fascism to secular democratic rule and a fair and just independent judiciary.
The Iranian people deserve a government that respects democratic norms, the rule of law and places the needs, dreams, and aspirations of the Iranian people above repression at home and terrorism abroad. It is therefore critical for the United States and other democracies around the world to stand with the Iranian people.
In addition to being a state sponsor of terrorism, the regime in Tehran continues to suppress the most fundamental human rights of its own people. Women in Iran suffer from a system of discrimination and inequality.
With every protester killed, the regime has only fueled more protests. Two individuals have been executed with no due process. Twenty more face imminent executions.
The current protests, spearheaded by women and young people, have turned into a universal call for regime change. Everyone wants a free republic based on the separation of religion and state.
And it’s not just women who have suffered under the regime. Ethnic minorities in Iran are among the most subjugated dehumanized and repressed groups.
Tehran must be treated like the pariah that it is. International bodies from the UN to the world court must hold regime leaders accountable for decades of crimes against humanity. Nations across the world must not appease Iran.
The people of Iran have paid a heavy price in their resistance against Shah and the current regime. Never can there be a return to such a dictatorship. The international community must stand with the Iranian people in their historic struggle for democracy.
President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the American Civil War, believed that American democracy meant equal rights and equal opportunity for all its people, and his thoughts from that turbulent time ring true today. Lincoln said democracy is a government of the people by the people and for the people. That is what you and Iranians all around the world and in Iran itself are seeking.
Former White House director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez:
What we’re seeing today is not a recent phenomenon but a very old one. In Iran, with the regime that is in power and has been in power for more than 40 years, going about your everyday life and living your life as you choose is not, in fact, an option.
The regime reaches down into every family, into every business, into every gathering to dictate how people have to behave and not.
This is a fight that has been going on for a long time, and it is not just a fight in international organizations. It’s not just a fight in places like Washington DC or, for that matter, in Iran itself. The reach of this regime is very, very wide and very, very deep. The reach of Iran and its murderous dictatorship can reach each and every one of us if we do not make it stop, if we do not overturn this murderous regime.
Maryam Rajavi is leading the resistance, and her leadership, I think, is all the more important because she’s a woman. One of the things that this regime has made clear from the very beginning is that if you can repress the women in a society, you will control that society. Well, we say no to that.
This is a fight that is much bigger. The people want regime change. They want the ayatollahs out. We cannot afford to sit idly by and watch that happen. If we don’t support the people, we are going to see the regime do things that make lives terrible, not only for the people of Iran but for people around the world.
It’s important to recognize that while you must have the support of the people against the dictatorship, you also need the support of capitals around the world. We need to see a major policy shift in this administration and among our leaders. We need to quit pretending like the ayatollahs are honorable people with whom we can negotiate treaties.
We must pursue a policy that says if you are going to punish your people, we are going to punish your regime. It is not possible to negotiate with these thugs. We must pursue a policy that says if you are going to punish your people, we are going to punish your regime.
Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan can be and should be the model for a future Iran.
Former Senator and Governor of Kansas Ambassador Sam Brownback:
The days of this regime are numbered and will soon be over. What you see is an organized resistance that is broad-based, that’s diversified, that’s unified, that’s powerful, and will not quit. This is a resistance that is going to win.
The idea of a religion running a government hurts the religion, it hurts the government, and it hurts the people, and that’s what we have seen taking place in Iran now.
Ultimately the people will rule, and overcome the autocrat. You’ve got a wonderful nation of people and culture. The Iran that is coming soon is an open, free, democratic, powerful nation because the power of your people and culture is unleashed. You will be a rising star rapidly. That’s what’s on the cusp right now.
I’ve tracked Iran for some period of time, and I’ve been impressed with the Iranians that I know and the culture that you have. The people that have never given up on democracy. Each wave of protest has gotten stronger, more organized, and more disruptive of the regime. This one is by far the most organized sustained youngest disruptive and broadest in support. Keep pushing until you get the democracy your people deserve. Keep pushing until the people rule.
I would like to see this take place and I think this one could really help move that movement forward to invite Mariam Rajavi to Washington and to tour America to speak. She needs to come here. We need to support the Iranian people. We need to recognize their right to overthrow the dictatorship.
Former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army General Jack Keane:
This is not 2009 when the middle class protested about a fraudulent election. This is not 2019 when fuel prices skyrocketed and the most disadvantaged took to the streets. This is very different. This is not just about the hijab. This is about the young and the old, it is about Persians, Arabs, and Kurds. It’s about 100 plus cities that are protesting across the entire swath of the nation. It is about students, workers, bazaar market merchants, and business people. This is about a nation united behind a singular goal and that goal is the mullahs must go, the Islamic Republic must end.
The people are yearning for human dignity. The people want to exercise personal freedom and personal choice. The people want democracy. After 41-plus years the people know that the government is not capable of making any fundamental change. The people must change the government.
The people want democracy, not the mullahs’ brutal theocracy and not the Shah’s authoritarian rule. The people, led by Mariam Rajavi on true democracy. This has been a long journey for four decades.
Tens of thousands throughout the country have been sacrificed to include the 30,000 massacre in 1988 by the current president of Iran.
Iran has been conducting an aggressive and persistent military campaign to drive America out of the Middle East.
Sadly, the new administration started to cut back on sanctions on Iran’s regime. They switched from confronting Iran to appeasing Iran. Iran has caused the deaths of thousands of its own people and killed American civilians and troops.
American citizens are linked to Iran, to the hardships and suffering of the Iranian people. It is time for the U.S. to take a strong leadership role inspired by the people of Iran. The United States should take a policy position on Iran’s recent killing of over 500 of its own citizens, the jailing of tens of thousands, and a 41-year history of genocide and crimes against humanity. That policy decision should be to stop negotiations right now over the nuclear deal and double down on sanctions.
The Biden administration should seize the opportunity to not only support the protesters but support their right to rebel against tyranny and aggression. This is a revolution, it is not simply a protest movement.
The United States as a global leader should organize freedom-loving countries of the world to isolate and sanction Iran to remove it from international bodies and to terminate its participation in international sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics. They are a pariah and they are not welcome. Nothing will inspire the people of Iran more than to hear the loud voices of people around the world and the international community in condemning the Iranian regime and supporting the Iranian people.
The Iranian people much like the Ukrainian people who are also fighting for their freedom have shown the world that the current regime in Iran has no legitimacy. It has no support from the people. The Iranian people are showing the world that they are willing to put at risk everything that they care about in their lives to fight for freedom. We in the United States who live every day in freedom and who also fought to get freedom, stand strong with the people of Iran.