Iranian gathering in Paris, 9 July 2016
Excerpts from remarks by Governor Tom Ridge, former secretary of the U.S. Homeland Security Department and former Governor and member of Congress from Pennsylvania.
In response to the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on the 2009 public protest, your beloved Iranian poet and patriot, Simin Behbahani wrote the following: “Stop this extravagance. Stop the reckless throwing of my country to the wind. Stop the screaming, the bloodshed, the mayhem. Stop doing what makes God’s crea-tures mourn in tears.” [Amid] retaliation for her exercise of what she believed was her civil right and her civ-ic duty to challenge authoritarian evil, she courageously observed the following: “You may wish to have me burned or decide to stone me, but in your hand, match or stone will lose the power to harm me.”
The Ayatollah and his handpicked leaders have been throwing the great country of Iran to the wind since 1979. Now is the time — today, and at this place — for the world to recognize that since the behavior of the leaders in Tehran won’t change, it’s time to change the leaders. Now is the time for free democratic societies to unite in support of a free Iran, a democratic Iran, a republic based on universal suffrage, the guarantee and protection of civil and human rights, the separation of church and state, the rule of law and peaceful coexist-ence with its neighbors.
The NCRI has created the single most visible, most credible, and most effective democratic movement with a clear and specific platform to bring a democratic Iran to existence, and I’m proud to join you and Madame Rajavi in support of that goal.
This extraordinary organization, under the steady hand and inspiring leadership of Mrs. Rajavi, has resisted the regime’s murderous efforts to silence, no yet exterminate, the opposition. And we all know that all of their tools of repression — stones or matches — have lost and will continue to lose the power to harm or quash this movement toward democracy.