Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Addressing “Free Iran – The Alternative” gathering in Paris in June 30, 2018:
First of all, I want to thank all of you for being here today. The willingness of so many people to come from so many places is a major factor in the growing support that you see worldwide for freedom in Iran. And your presence here, each one of you, your presence here today helps communicate and build that support. So let me start by saying thank you.
Let me also remind you how much the last two years have changed things. Two years ago, we had an American administration committed to weakness, to actually shipping cash to the dictatorship, to easing up on the sanctions, and to deluding itself about what the dictatorship would do. Today, you have an administration which understands reality, which is determined to stop the dictatorship, which is increasing the sanctions and which I predict will every single month get tougher and tougher, because in the end, the only way to safety in the region is to replace the dictatorship with democracy, and that has to be our goal.
So we need to be very clear. We need to have a campaign to shame the European governments who are unwilling to support freedom and democracy. We need to make clear that whatever money they are making out of the dictatorship is a terrible price to pay for the people for their betraying in every single town in Iran. We need to insist that they join the sanctions once again.
We need to encourage the American government to tighten the sanctions even further. Our goal is very simple. It’s not to start negotiating. Our goal is to have a free democratic Iran that respects the rights of every individual.
Your slogan this year—free Iran 2018—is exactly the right slogan. Once these things start to break, as Mayor Giuliani said a while ago about the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union looked unbelievably powerful, and then one day it disappeared. Well, the fact is that the Khamenei regime is much weaker than the Soviet Union ever was. The corruption at the top weakens the entire system. The rivalries in the government weaken the entire system. Their inability to provide prosperity, their inability to provide a decent way of life, their inability to even be honest—all of these are weakening and the work each of you is doing. And I encourage you, not just the folks who’ve done a great job and it is always amazing to come here and see just the scale of production and to listen to Mrs. Rajavi’s speech and realize how much thought she has put into preparing for a description of where we need to go, but even more than that, each one of you could be on Facebook, you can be on Twitter, you can be on a variety of other systems. Every single one of you can reach out and help. I happened to do a tweet the other day and when I got here, I had six or seven different people tell me that it was picked up and repeated all over the place because there’s a hunger. If you’re in a town in Iran and you’re faced with the secret police, you’re faced with a dictatorship, it really encourages you…to believe that out there there are people who care about you, there are people that want you to succeed, and there are people who are on your side.
Our goal is very simple. It’s not to start negotiating. Our goal is to have a free democratic Iran that respects the rights of every individual.
I believe with all my heart that we are on the side of history. I believe that the human beings everywhere would rather govern themselves than have to suffer under a dictatorship that steals from them, oppresses them, punishes them, and sets arbitrary rules. And so I believe there’s a real wellspring of the human spirit eager to work with you, eager to help, and eager to be involved. And I believe if you go back and look once again at the remarkable speech that Mrs. Rajavi gave, and you think about the years that she and all of her compatriots have put in, the risks they’ve run, the tragic, personal losses they have suffered, freedom will come. It has been paid for by the blood of patriots. It has been paid for by the sweat of patriots. It has been paid for by those willing to stand up to the dictatorship. You are a key part of that.
I believe with all my heart that we are on the side of history. I believe that the human beings everywhere would rather govern themselves than have to suffer under a dictatorship that steals from them, oppresses them, punishes them, and sets arbitrary rules.
And so I wanted to come today I want you to know that all the Americans who were up here a few minutes ago are committed to communicating in our country that there is a movement, there is an opportunity for freedom, for democracy, for equal rights, and that movement is meeting right here today and it is vastly larger than any other movement trying to help Iran. And I want you to know so I say this not just to people up front, but all the way back, your being here makes a difference. You are sending a signal, you are communicating solidarity, you are helping the morale in Iran, and you are shaking the people who think they can somehow live with a dictatorship. And I believe this meeting, combined with what’s happening inside Iran, combined with the toughness of the Trump administration, gives us a genuine opportunity to really move much more dramatically, and to move in the right direction.
There is a movement, there is an opportunity for freedom, for democracy, for equal rights, and that movement is meeting right here today and it is vastly larger than any other movement trying to help Iran.
Let me just say in closing, I’m going to be an optimist. I look forward to the day that this meeting can be in Tehran in a free country.