Senator Joe Lieberman - The best way to defeat ISIS is to form a multi-national coalition led by the US. The Iranian Resistance can play an important part in supporting that effort.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, I accept your nomination. It’s an American idiom. It is a great honor to be here. I remember thinking when you said I need no introduction that I was at an event in Washington about ten years ago, and former secretary of state, Henry Kissinger was the main speaker. And the chairman of the event got up and said “if there’s anybody in the world who needs no introduction, it’s Henry Kissinger, so I give you Doctor Kissinger.” Kissinger got up and said “You know I suppose it’s true I don’t need an introduction, but I must be honest with you, I like a good introduction.”
So, I appreciate the introduction and the warm welcome. I appreciate the fact that you’ve all come here. Your presence, your leadership every day is so important. I was thinking as the president-elect was speaking, of a famous story that some of the prisoners that were held during the Soviet time and the gulag, at the end when it came out they talked about how they got words through secret sources that President Regan had described the Soviet Union as the Evil empire, and to them it gave them the courage to continue on.
And I think from what Farzad said and what you know, that not just the work that you do every day as leaders of the resistance particularly throughout Europe, but the fact that we are here today, will send a message to those who are suffering under tyranny, whether it be in Camp Liberty or throughout Iran, that we are with them and they will be liberated if we can help it and we can. So I thank you for that. I thank you for inviting me today.
I can’t tell you how glad I am to be able to be here to help in this very meaningful commemoration of the international Human Rights day and also because this is a particularly important moment in history because the world seems so unstable and I think you and I can draw strength from each other and particularly from the leadership of Mrs. Rajavi, The People's Mojahedin and the National Council of Resistance of Iran to play a yet a larger role at the frontlines of restoring stability, justice and peace to the world by bringing about change in the government of Iran. Everywhere we look in the world today, there seems to be trouble. Russia invaded Ukraine, seized Crimea, and has now moved into Syria now for the first time in 4 decades. China is acting aggressively outside of its homeland, particularly in its neighbouring waters. I believe that these two great powers are taking these actions because they believe that the USA and Europe are in a moment of passivity in their international relations.
But I want to say to you very carefully that as serious as China and Russia and their behaviour are, that the most critical threat the world faces today is from radical Islamist fundamentalism and terrorism and its most important and threatening capital is not in Iraq or Syria but in Tehran, Iran. And that is why in the interest of the values we share and the security and stability and peace of the world that we pray for, we must continue to fight to change the government of Iran, you and the NCRI know this truth led by Mrs. Rajavi, internationally, and all of you in the countries in which you work and live. You have fought against the extremist policies and values of the regime in Tehran.
America and our allies in Europe should support and strengthen the NCRI much more than some of the governments have, not just because you are the enemy of our enemy, no, much more, because you are our friends in the fight for freedom. You are our allies in the war against fundamentalism and extremism and terrorism and to use the appropriate words that Mrs. Rajavi used, our sisters and brothers in the quest for peace.
The world today is mesmerized and literally terrorized by the Islamic State because of its extreme brutality and its sponsorship of terrorist acts far from its so called declared Caliph. ISIS is a real danger and must be defeated or it will defeat us in our values but at the same time we cannot let the war with ISIS distract us from what I believe is the even greater threat from the radical government in Tehran. The truth is that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the same hatred of our values as ISIS believes in the same extreme religious views and employs the same terrorist methods as ISIS.
Frankly the main difference is that one represents Sunni extremism and the other represents Shia extremism. And this leads me to share with you my own belief that the great divide in the Muslim world today is not as some conveniently argue between the Sunni and Shiite as if this is a battle that has been going on for centuries; it is today – the great divide is between Shia extremists and Sunni extremists on one side. Extremists like Iran, Al-Qaida and ISIS, and on the other side, moderates, people who have a very different view of Islam, like the NCRI, the Gulf States, Egypt and Indonesia.
Mrs. Rajavi, you and the leaders of the NCRI, The People's Mojahedin have emerged as a powerful force a values-based mainstream tolerant, non-violent Islam; a force that a lot of the non-Muslim world has been pleading for, for a long time. The civilized world needs you now more than ever.
We are at a moment in history that I would describe and I think historians would see it as the post-Iran nuclear agreement era. And I will tell you that my belief is that that agreement made all the trouble spots in the world, worse. Because it made our allies feel abandoned and our enemies feel emboldened. The agreement strengthens Iran and endangers the United States, Europe and all the free people of the world.
It’s a bad agreement because it is based on trust of a government that has given us no reason to trust it. It is based on the hope that the agreement itself will moderate the behaviour of the mullahs even though during the negotiations and since the Iranian government has made clear over and over again that it has no intention to moderate its behaviour, that it will not alter its support of terrorism, externally or its tyranny over its own people internally.
The brutal treatment of the residents of Camp Liberty is another example of Iran’s total commitment to not tolerate opposition.
And I think it is very important… There was a minister, Pastor Niemöller, who wrote something quite moving in Nazi Germany and I would apply it here today in regard to the mullahs’ leadership of Iran. Today, they come after The People's Mojahedin. Tomorrow, and really tomorrow, it will be the United States of America and the countries of Europe that are their targets. That is my belief. The P5+1 has acted as if it wanted an agreement more than Iran, so it closed its eyes to Iran’s transgressions.
Even though the United States itself and certainly in alliance with the European Union is so much stronger in every way than Iran. So the weaker party in the negotiation dominated the negotiation because the stronger party refused to stand by its principles, to stand by the interests of its security and lead.
This refusal to face the facts of Iran’s immoral and lawless behaviour continues today in the West reaction to the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, issued just last week on the so called PMD, the Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
This investigation and report by the International Atomic Energy Agency is required by the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran. It is a pre-condition of actually implementing the agreement. And it’s a long report and it’s complicated but allow me to translate it into plain language of what it said for all to see.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is not an agency of the United States or the European Union, it is an agency of the United Nations led by a distinguished Japanese statesman, Mr. Amano.
And it’s said that Iran quite bluntly has been lying, when it had said over and over again that it was not trying to develop nuclear weapons.
The IAEA found evidence that Iran was doing that in 2002 and continued to do parts of it right up until 2009 and yet Iran continued to say it was not developing nuclear weapons and the P5+1 seemed to go ahead and accept that.
The report also says that Iran was not telling the truth when it continued to state, before the negotiations, during and afterwards that the world had nothing to worry about in terms of what was happening in the facility at Parchin.
The IAEA investigators said that they saw enough there, even though they were not given full and timely access to conclude that there was a lot to worry about or at least that they could not conclude that there was nothing to worry about in what was happening at Parchin.
I mentioned two of what to me are the most significant conclusions of this report. There are many others that are alarming. The fact is that this report from the International Atomic Energy Agency should wake up the United States and the European members of P5+1 from their dreams about an Iran that would be as they wish it to be instead of the way it actually is.
The P5+1 should delay the lifting of sanctions on Iran and the transfer of billions of dollars to the mullahs until the Iranian government has satisfactorily answered the International Atomic Energy Agency outstanding questions. But I regret to say that the spokesman for the United States administration has already made clear that these Iranian violations will not stop the agreement from being implemented. As Mrs. Rajavi said, the eyes are still closed and the ears are still covered.
I call on my former colleagues in Congress today to find a way through the power of appropriations in Congress to delay the suspension of sanctions until Iran gives us more reason to believe it will keep its word in the rest of the agreement and I ask you leaders from Europe and elsewhere to ask the same of your governments and parliamentarians.
You know, I learned a long time ago in politics and more recently in diplomacy, a very simple rule that in our way we all follow in our personal lives: you have to decide who your friends are and be loyal to them and you have to also decide with a clarity of vision who your enemies are and stand up to them unless and until they give you reason to believe that they have changed their behavior and become your friends.
The government of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the mullahs have made clear that they are our enemies. Not just the enemies of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, who are on the front lines, not just the enemies of America, not just the enemies of Europe, but the enemies of the values that we hold dear, that, yes and I thank you again Madam Rajavi, that come from the fact that we are children of the same God and all children of the same father, Abraham.
And I say in America, to our administration, you need go no further than to go back to the American Declaration of Independence where it says that those patriots were declaring their independence to secure the rights that by self-evident truth, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that they claim not because they were great statesmen, not because of the philosophers of the enlightenment, but as the endowment from their creator, from God. And yet, the State Department, which still designates Iran as the number one state-sponsor of terrorism in the world, now seems to be thinking that Iran will become our ally in defeating ISIS.
How could we trust a terrorist state like Iran to help us defeat a terrorist group like ISIS? It is Orwellian. The price of making the kind of deal with Iran that is now being discussed by the diplomats in Vienna will be to keep Bashar Assad in power in Syria even though his hands are red with the blood of his own people particularly the blood of Syrian Sunnis.
Let me speak strategically and frankly to you. To defeat ISIS, we need the support of the Sunni Arab nations and the Sunni people of Syria and Iraq. They are the boots that we need on the ground to defeat ISIS. But as you know they detest and distrust the current government of Iran and they hate Assad for what he has done to them. So, allying with the government in Iran, in an apparent effort to defeat ISIS will in my opinion make it impossible to defeat ISIS because the Sunnis we need to join us in the fight on the ground, will not become part of it. Can you blame them? The best way to defeat ISIS is to form a multi-national coalition led by the United States with support from Europeans, Arab nations, moderate Sunnis, and Shiites.
I believe that the Iranian Resistance can play an important part in supporting that effort with the resources you have inside and outside Iran, just as you have already done the battle against Iran.
So, think about it. We have the government of the some of the great democracies of the world seeming to rush to embrace a terrorist regime in Iran while too often turning their back on our natural allies which is you, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran.
I will tell you this: Not withstanding what the current administration in America has done, you have very broad bi-partisan support in the congress of the United States and among the people of the United States because they know you are freedom fighters, you are our allies against our enemies who currently and I would say temporarily govern Iran.
You know from personal pain and loss the truth of what I’m about to say.
Why has the regime in Tehran been so brutal, especially brutal to people affiliated with Mojahedin, the Resistance? Because they fear you and they should.
You represent the values of freedom and opportunities that the people of Iran, the great majority, most miss and most desperately want. Your leader, Mrs. Rajavi, is a principled, eloquent, progressive, and inspirational figure.
And it is very important to say that she is a religious woman and she speaks for a tolerant, loving Islam which is the heart of Islam, a great religion that has been corrupted and captured by this radical, fundamentalist, terrorist minority.
How could anyone really in the name of God, the creator of all of us, go about killing people wantonly the way the mullahs in Tehran have killed so many of the Iranian people and so many of other people through acts of terrorism. I look at this heroic woman who has lost 8 children in the fight for freedom.
They’re not doing God’s will, and if I may say so, and I say it modestly because I am not authorized as a former Senator to make religious statements, I think the Iranian Resistance, and Mrs. Rajavi is doing God’s will. So keep it up.
Now, let me conclude with a personal word to each of you. You are involved in a long struggle for a great cause which is to rescue a great nation from the clutches of tyranny. I know you deeply believe in the cause. It sustains you through unspeakable losses and frustration but I want to say to you, you would not be human if occasionally, though I know you believe as I do, that history is on your side you, you wonder why history moves so slowly and sometimes as in the recent nuclear agreement, why history seems sometimes to be moving in the wrong direction.
I want to plead with you and I do this with great confidence, because I know you now and I know in some ways I don’t have to say this, but I want you to know that I know the moment of frustration and disappointment you may feel in your personal lives and this struggle. Do not waver in your determination. Do not lose hope, never never never quit. Take heart from history which should encourage you.
Remember what Dr. Martin Luther King said that the moral arch of the universe bends slowly but it always bends towards justice. And remember the wise words of the great anthropologist Margaret Mead who said never underestimate the capacity of a small group of ordinary citizens to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it has ever happened.
So, sometimes when you think of yourselves, as strong as you become, yet not a nation state like the Islamic Republic of Iran with all the weapons they put together, think of history. Thomas Paine, one of the great patriots during the American Revolution against the mighty British Empire, the superpower of its time, said to his fellow revolutionaries, you might call them the National Council of Resistance of Colonial America, he said to them we have it in our power to begin the world over again. And against all odds, they did that and so I say to you, can and will you of the Iranian Resistance.
Two centuries later, President Reagan embraced Thomas Paine’s words and confidence when he promised “to begin the world anew by vanquishing the evil empire, the Soviet Union”. And to the amazement of everyone, much sooner than anybody imagined, that is exactly what happened. The Soviet Union collapsed suddenly.
And so I predict the Islamic Republic of Iran will collapse in our time with a surprising speed and you in the NCRI will help to make that happen.
A few years back in 2007, I was honored to be invited to come to Prague in the Czech Republic to speak to a really remarkable conference of freedom fighters and human rights activists from throughout the world organized by Vaclav Havel, great writer, former Czech freedom fighter, and later the President of Czech Republic, and Nathan Sharansky, former Russian refugee who served many years in prisons and later became a member of the Cabinet of Israel.
I said to them what I want to say to you now in closing:
I said history and the heroes in this room, and there are heroes in this room, tell me that the future does not belong to the despots and dictators. It belongs to a political activist from Tehran, to a journalist from Moscow, to a blogger from Cairo, to a human rights advocate from North Korea, and to countless others whose names are not yet known but will one day be inscribed alongside those of Havel and Sharansky in the kingdom of conscience and courage to which all freedom fighters belong.
Mrs. Rajavi, President-elect, ladies and gentlemen, that is where your names will go and belong along with the heroes and martyrs of Camp Liberty and so many others who have and will fight for the emancipation of the people of Iran.
Today, I simply want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving a great cause, which is the cause of the People of Iran but really it is the cause of all freedom-loving people in the world.
And I pledge to you today my steadfast support until the Iranian fundamentalist regime is vanquished and victory for freedom of the people of Iran is secured.
Thank you very much.