Senate Policy Briefing on Iran
March 17, 2021
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Hi, I’m Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee. And it is my pleasure to once again, wish all of you assembled here and around the world, happiness, prosperity, and good health on this Nowruz. While we have spent the last year physically distant from one another, now there is an opportunity to come together as a community to welcome both the spring season and the new year. And just as importantly, this holiday is an observance of peace. That is why I am proud to have the opportunity to address your community who have been steadfast supporters of a free, democratic, Iran that is prosperous at home and at peace with its neighbors; an Iran that places more value on human rights than it does on its ability to pursue nuclear weapons.
I’m glad to be joining you once again, to stand with the Iranian people as they continue to fight for their fundamental human rights and hold the Iranian regime accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses and support for terrorism. As always, I’m pleased to see that you are joined today by many of your compatriots in Albania, your safety and security prove that dedicated advocacy and fighting for your cause can improve your situation and hope that all Iranian people may someday be able to live in safety, dignity, and freedom. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime continues to give us reason to doubt that future and to show the world that it has no intention of changing its oppressive and reprehensible behavior.
The regime in Tehran continues to try to silence those who dare to speak out as a voice for the voiceless. More broadly, we know the regime has tortured and imprisoned thousands for simply speaking out, for speaking against the abuses of the regime, for demanding economic justice, for simply wanting to live in peace and freedom, and to be able to work for a better future for their children. We cannot be silent in the face of this kind of oppression. You know, that you have friends in Congress and throughout the US government, as well as a host of international NGOs who will continue to shine a light on these abuses and continue to press for accountability. We will continue highlighting the plight of Iran’s people at the regime’s expense.
Over the past year, we’ve seen Iran prove again on the world stage that it is not interested in making peace with its neighbors or prioritizing the wellbeing of its people. Beyond its abuses of people at home, the regime continues to support terrorism and the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, and continues on its path towards a nuclear weapon. While in Congress we may have different approaches about the best way to address the threat from Iran, rest assured that we remain united against the regime’s fundamental abuses against its citizens, oppressing and denying fundamental rights to women.