Remarks by Senator Robert Menendez at the Free Iran World Summit 2021 on 10 July 2021

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Senator Robert Menendez, Member of the US Senate

It’s my pleasure to speak with you and to thank you all for your enduring commitment and advocacy on behalf of a free and democratic Iran that is prosperous at home and at peace with its neighbors. Last weekend, we celebrated in the United States the Fourth of July, a joyous occasion to join with family and friends to rejoice in the founding of this great nation, and an opportunity to reflect upon and give thanks for the values and rights expressed so eloquently in the Declaration of Independence. It says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” These immortal words ring true today as they did 245 years ago and they apply not only to the people of the United States as we continually strive to achieve a more perfect union, but to people around the world, including to the people of Iran.

Unfortunately, the people of Iran remain blinded with a government that has repeatedly shown no interest in securing anything beyond its own self-preservation, sowing chaos abroad, and corruption and repression at home, seeking a pathway towards a nuclear weapon. We need look no further than Iran’s recent presidential election, in which Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner crony of the supreme leader, who was subject to US Human Rights sanctions, was elected president. Mr. Raisi won a sham election after the regime cleared the field of any credible challenger, in which a majority of eligible voters showed their disgust by refusing to participate, leading to the lowest voter turnout since 1979. While it remains clear that the Supreme Leader Khamenei remains the ultimate ruler. It is a further indictment of his rule that he would not only endorse, but tip the scales in favor of a man who like Raisi becoming president of Iran, a man who was actively involved in the forcible disappearance and extrajudicial killing of thousands of Iranian dissidents in 1988, a man who was involved in brutal crackdowns against peaceful protesters in both the green movement of 2009, and more recent protests of 2019, a man who Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard recently said must be investigated for crimes against humanity. In the face of such callous disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people and the risks that Iran under Khamenei and Raisi create to the entire region in the world, your continued advocacy remains absolutely vital. It is a beacon of hope that one day the people of Iran, the United States, and indeed all the world will rejoice in an Iranian government that is at peace with the international community and works to secure a better future for its people.

Thank you again for your hard work. And we continue to stand with you until that day comes when freedom, respect for human rights are being taught once again at the international community that the Iranian people deserve.