Rayburn House Office Building
December 11, 2018
On Wednesday December 11, 2018, bipartisan members of United States congress joined Iranian Americans from 40 states at a festive event held on the grounds of the House of Representatives to celebrate the Holiday Season to express support for democracy protesters in Iran. At this gathering, organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), lawmakers also announced bipartisan congressional support for H.Res.1034 and highlighted Iranian regimes’ malign role within and outside Iran.
Timed to coincide with the anniversary of nationwide protests in Iran, which reignited in late December 2017, the gathering showcased congressional and Iranian American community support for the Iranian people’s uprising.
The demonstrations exploded across the country yet again in December 2017 as, “tens of thousands of protesters have formed the largest outpouring of government opposition since the volatile 2009 presidential elections. The scale and ferocity of the protests had clerical leaders in Tehran struggling.” Developments in Iranian streets, factories, schools, and roads over the past years overwhelmingly affirm the assertion that despite suffocating repression, the protests in Iran have a number of key characteristics and differ from the 2009 uprising:
- The public dissent and its topography is intensifying to include various segments, institutions, and geographical local within Iran. The antiestablishment protests, which originally involved some 240 cities and municipalities, have progressively swelled beyond a singular socioeconomic sector of society or economy and now include participation of factory workers, truck drivers, teachers and the Bazaar. In a display of increasing international awareness, U.S. Teamsters issued a statement in October 2018 to express its solidarity with striking truck drivers in Iran.
- The protests are getting increasingly more sophisticated, persistent, organized, and deliberate in nature.
- Repeated slogans such as “Death to Dictator,” show that people’s demands transcend economic issues and directly target the clerical regime.
- The regime, facing increasing international isolation has no answer for the people and is incapable of meeting their legitimate demands. Accordingly, the current wave of uprising is unstoppable.
- These legitimate demands and regimes’ violent response is leading to a surprisingly rapid growth in the size, number, and interconnectivity of the already present community of RESISTANCE UNITS.
Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) appreciates and fully supports congressional efforts to hold Iranian regime accountable for its human rights violations, terrorism, and nuclear weapons development activities.
The 2018 OIAC Holiday Season Celebration was held at the Rayburn House Office Building. Dr. Ramesh Sepehrad, an OIAC Advisory Board Member and a scholar practitioner at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR) at George Mason University was the event moderator. “Since last year, the Iranian people have shown to the world’s community that the protests in Iran are ongoing, they’re expanding,” Said Dr. Sepehrad in her opening remarks and added, “they are deepening to the point of no reconciliation of the current regime in power, and the regime has no way out of this crisis. These protests are organized and backed by the Iranian resistance movement.”
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) told event attendees that, “As the journey of the mullahs has become more extreme, the international resistance to them has become more resolute. We’ve seen this in the liberation of the MEK freedom fighters trapped in Iraq.” We’ve also “seen it with the 105 of my colleagues, here in the House of Representatives who co-sponsored my bill, House Resolution 1034 that we affirmed our committed support of the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran,” Mr. McClintock added.
In his remarks, the expected incoming Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Eliot Engel, D-NY) referred to the street protests in Iran and added, “There have been lots of demonstrations going on in Iran where people are protesting…I’m just here to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and to say to the government of Iran: What are you afraid of? Fair and free elections? Let the people of Iran determine their destiny.”
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) reminded the community members of their important role. “It’s obvious that what you do is making a difference, because you have got the folks in Iran, the mullahs, real nervous,” he said. Jude Poe then added, “Don’t ever let the mullahs keep you awake at night, because you see, you keep them awake at night by fighting for freedom in Iran.”
“I’m proud to co-sponsor House Resolution 1034 which condemns Iran’s state sponsored terrorism and expresses support for the Iranian people fighting for free, democratic, and secular future,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) in her comments.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) recognized U.S. Teamsters Union for, “joining in support of the Iranian truck drivers protesting for democracy in Iran,” commending also Iranian opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi for “her continuing advocacy for women’s rights and minority rights in Iran.”
In a passionate speech, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said, “The love of liberty burns in your heart. All the way from the time of Camp Ashraf where innocent people, unarmed people were being slaughtered by the mullah regime…and yes, right now…all freedom loving people, in supporting those people who are now in the streets in Iran demanding that the mullahs leave.”
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) said, “I’m a co-chair of the Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, and I’m proud of that. I will continue to condemn the Iranian regime’s abuses of human rights and its support for terrorism.”
“The change of Congress will not stop us from fighting for victory,” said longtime Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), adding, “as new majority is in power [in Congress], please know that democracy will not be far from our heart, our mind and our lips.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) noted also that all must stand in solidarity with the people of Iran, but “it’s so important for the United States to not lose its focus on the government of Iran.”
Ms. Soona Samsami, the representative in the United States for Iran’s Parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) also addressed the gathering. She highlighted the organized nature of the ongoing protests in Iran and quoted regime’s officials, including the following: “The decisive factor in the persistence and expansion of the protests is the organization of the rioters. They have created organized cells called the Units of Rebellion, which have both the capacity to increase in numbers and also replace leaders on the scene.”
Mr. Adam Ereli, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain also addressed the audience and said, “I think it’s clear to anybody who follows Iran closely that the mullahs are afraid. And they’re afraid of you.” “When Iran blames Iranian opposition and the Iranian American diaspora for these protests, Mr. Ereli added, “it just tells you how afraid they are, how vulnerable they are, and how effective you are.”
We invite you to review these remarks in their entirety, included below for your review:
Dr. Ramesh Sepehrad:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. On behalf of the Iranian-American organization, thank you for joining our 2018 holiday gathering. Our event today represents the Congressional solidarity with a free Iran.
This month, we also mark the one-year anniversary of the nationwide uprising in Iran. Since last year, the Iranian people have shown to the world’s community that the protests in Iran are ongoing, they’re expanding, they are deepening to the point of no reconciliation of the current regime in power, and the regime has no way out of this crisis. These protests are organized and backed by the Iranian resistance movement.
As we look at 2018, this is such a strong bipartisan support by U.S. Congress for the Iranian people. Iranian regime is fearful and more than anyone is doubtful of its future. The regime in Tehran has responded with terror at home and abroad. At home, there has been estimated of 8,000 arbitrary arrests and in the course of a one-month long protest in January, alone. At least 58 people were killed during the 2018 month long protests and 12 jailed protesters were killed under torture. There has been close to 300 executions in Iran since last December, and at least 50 protesters were directly shot by the state security forces. In August, more than 1,000 people were arrested in Tehran protests. And 11 people have been executed in public and at least 4 women have been executed in Iran.
Tehran’s terror has also escalated abroad. This past June, Tehran’s terror [0:02:00] against the diaspora event in Paris titled Free Iran 2018. The plot was foiled by German, Belgian, and the French police. And Congress responded strong. In July, the House of Representatives introduced a bill of H.Res.1034 condemning the Iran’s state sponsor of terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people.
The United States Congress recognizes the voice of Iranian people and their call for a democratic change. The support of U.S. Congress comes from leadership and from members of both sides of the aisle. We are very pleased to have Congressman Tom McClintock, Republican of California join us today. Please welcome Congressman Tom McClintock.
Rep. Tom McClintock:
I thank you all for coming tonight, and thank you for your support of the Iranian freedom movement, and welcome to the United States Capitol.
The Iranian freedom movement has not just endured. It has grown, as the injustices and atrocities of the illegitimate Iranian regime have become known and despised throughout the world. As the journey of the mullahs has become more extreme, the international resistance to them has become more resolute. We’ve seen this in the liberation of the MEK freedom fighters trapped in Iraq. We’ve seen it in the growing opposition to the Iranian mullahs from other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and we’ve seen it with the 105 of my colleagues here in the House of Representatives which co-sponsored my bill, House Resolution 1034 that we affirmed our committed support of the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.
Iran is the oldest and greatest civilization in the history of mankind, but it has been suppressed and plundered by a clique of thugs who’ve appointed themselves as the overlords of Iran. Their claim on power is illegitimate and the time to talk with them is fast approaching.
You know, at these events over the years, I’ve often quoted Thomas Paine at a similar turning point in American history. He wrote words for his countrymen that are just as relevant to yours today. He said, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of this country. But he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have with us this consolation that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” Such a time is coming around where the struggle for freedom is approaching a critical hour.
Years of oppression by the dictators in Tehran has produced economic malaise at home and growing opposition abroad. The Iranian people know it. They are living it, and they have reached a breaking point. We’re now approaching one of those rare moments in history when the world could change overnight. Those who love and cherish freedom in our country and throughout the world stand with you in your struggle. And so the future generations of Iranians yet to come who will celebrate and honor everything that each of you has done in this generation to restore to them their birthright to prosperity, happiness, and dignity that freedom makes possible. Thank you all.
Rep. Mike Coffman:
Well, it’s such an honor to be with you here tonight in solidarity with the people of Iran for a democratic, secular, non-nuclear republic of Iran. I so proudly support this resolution, sponsored initially by Representative McClintock, that stands in solidarity with the people of Iran, separating the government of Iran from the people of Iran. And I also want to thank the teamsters in the United States for standing in solidarity as well with the truck drivers of Iran who are now on strike. But it’s so important for the United States to not lose its focus on the government of Iran in changing that government. And so I stand with you today in support of the people of Iran and for their future. Thank you.
Rep. Judy Chu:
Well, it is so wonderful to be with the Congressional solidarity with a free Iran, and thank you for being here to celebrate this holiday season.
I’m especially proud to stand with the people of Iran who are courageously striving for freedom in the face of their government’s cruel tyranny. And I am so inspired, especially by Iran’s women who over the past year risked everything to stand up and to speak out. Their struggles were seen across the globe. And I am also impressed by the men who stood with them, like who’s now languishing in prison for the crime of supporting his wife. Unfortunately, there are far too many men and women that are suffering in this way and we cannot forget the families torn apart by the Ayatollah’s violence. We will continue to fight for those in prison so that no other family has to feel this pain.
But Iran’s crimes aren’t just at home. The government of Iran is also responsible for supporting violence and terror around the world, like plots to kill critics of the regime in Europe. Fortunately, the plots were foiled by the French, German, and Belgian intelligence agencies. But it just shows how ruthless this regime can be.
That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor House Resolution 1034 which condemns Iran’s state sponsored terrorism and expresses support for the Iranian people fighting for free, democratic, and secular future.
Well, thank you for your activism. Your activism is paving the way so that women will not have to fear being in prison for what they wear so that journalists will not have to fear punishment for speaking the truth, and families will not have to be torn apart, and loved ones in prisons just for criticizing the government. But those changes will not come about without the work of the Iranian people and the support of countries like the United States.
So thank you. I support your work to establish a free and democratic Iran that works with the U.S. and others to build a safer world. Thank you for all your important work to promote human rights and a more free Iran. Happy holidays everybody.
Rep. Eliot Engel:
Well, thank you very much and welcome to Washington. I see a lot of friends here, and it’s always a pleasure to see you.
I want for Iran what the people of Iran want for themselves. And that is freedom, and that is the ability to live in a free country, not a dictatorship, and I want them to be able to have the same kinds of future that American children have, what we know. And that’s why I’ve always been for free and fair elections for the people of Iran. People of Iran are living under a terrible dictatorship. We got a sense of that dictatorship way back in 1979 when the revolution happened in Iran and the United States Embassy was under siege and overrun. And unfortunately, there has not been much official change in the policies of the government of Iran.
Now, I know that the people of Iran, particularly the young people, are good people and want the same freedoms that we have for people in the United States. That’s why there have been lots of demonstrations going on in Iran where people are protesting, particularly the young people who are growing. They’re protesting the lack of opportunity and the lack of ability to say what they want to say and do what they want to do and be what they want to be, like the same age group in the United States has the ability to do those kinds of things.
So, I’m just here to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and to say to the government of Iran, “What are you afraid of? Both fair and free elections? Let the people of Iran determine their destiny.” And I wish for the Iranian progress for all people in the world—freedom. Thank you.
Rep. Brad Sherman:
Folks, happy holidays. I’m Congressman Brad Sherman from California’s best named city, Sherman Oaks, and I work closely with so many of the Iranian communities here in the United States to work for human rights and to work for democracy in Iran.
And I know that the relationship between the Iranian government and the American government is not good, but I am confident that once we get democracy in Iran, we will have a great relationship, whether it’s Democrats or Republicans, that will get along well with a government in Tehran that really reflects the Iranian people.
I’ve served for 22 years on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and I’ve worked hard with people in this room. And I especially want to thank the MEK for its role in 2002 in revealing the Natanz facility, because it was important then and is important now that we prevent this murderous regime from having the most terrible weapons at its disposal.
I work closely with working men and women here in the United States, and I want to recognize the teamsters for joining in support of the Iranian truck drivers protesting for democracy in Iran. And a lot of people come here in solidarity with working men and women, but when you work with the organized unions, you’re really working for the interests of working people not only here in the United States but around the world. I want to commend Madame Rajavi for her continuing advocacy for women’s rights and minority rights in Iran. Democracy and equality are not just principles we hold dear. They are rights that belong to the people of every country, including, of course, Iran.
This January I was proud to manage on the floor H.Res.676, a Congressional resolution that I co-sponsored that provides support for democracy in Iran. Specifically, the resolution supports the rights of the people of Iran to free expression and condemns the Iranian regime for its crackdown of protests.
Today, perhaps the most significant dispute with China is about the incarceration of one of their executives by our friends in Canada. And there are those that say, “Oh, it just doesn’t matter. Let’s focus on other things with China.” You cannot as a country says that you are sanctioning Iran and then say the sanctions don’t count. And let everyone in Beijing understand that American law counts and that our friends in Canada will help enforce it. That being said, if China comes to us and says they really want to be part of an effort to bring democracy to Iran, they want, for example, to say that they’re not willing to buy any oil from Iran until such time as we see the political prisoners released from Iranian jails, then they will be working for the freedom of people who shouldn’t be in prison, and if that means that there’s one Chinese executive who has committed a—perhaps hasn’t been proven in court, but is at least accused of committing a felony—if I can see hundreds and thousands of Iranian political prisoners released, one Chinese executive is a small price to pay.
Now, of course I join with my colleague, Representative Poe, in introducing the IRGC, Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Terrorist Sanctions Act. I’m also a co-sponsor of the Iranian Human Rights and Hostage Taking Accountability Act. Last May, I sent a letter to the President, demanding that he force sanctions against companies that export censorship technologies to Iran. That you cannot legally provide that government with the tools to oppress its own people, and it’s time that the administration actually enforce those laws.
And finally, I wrote a letter to the Albanian prime minister with seven of our colleagues to urge protection for the MEK members living in that country. The United States did something tremendous for the Albanian people. Not so much for the Albanian state, but for their cousins in Kosovo. We prevented a genocide. We rose above ethnicity and religion, and as a Christian country, we actually bombed another Christian country in order to protect the Albanians of Kosovo. I think that at minimum, we should be able to count on the Albanian people and the Albanian government to ensure the security of MEK members who are now living and have found refuge in Albania and to cut back the size of the Iranian Embassy in Tehran, which has no legitimate purpose beyond a few people. Albania’s not a giant economic powerhouse. Trade between Iran and Tirana and Albania is, I’m sure, smaller than trade between Rockville and Bethesda. So we’ve got to make sure that the Albanian government, in recognition of what we did for the Albanian people, act appropriately toward the MEK members living in that country.
And I want to acknowledge the courage of people who are in the audience now. I won’t name them, but just a few months ago, the U.S. Department of Justice had to charge two agents of the Iranian regime, accusing them of collecting intelligence on Iranian opposition members here in Washington. First, this proves you’re effective. Tehran would not be sending agents against the advocates for democracy if they didn’t see you as a real threat. Second, this illustrates that just as Putin tries to kill dissidents in Britain, just as Saudi Arabi kills Khashoggi, those who go after their dissidents in other countries illustrate what side of history they are on. And they are on the wrong side of history.
So, thank you for your efforts. I’ve been working with you for 22 years. Some would say this speech has lasted 22 years. I thank you for your time and look forward to working with you in the years to come. Thank you.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher:
We love freedom. That’s what unites us. We are good people. There are good people all over the world, and they have good hearts, and they love freedom. We are in unity with them. And that’s why tonight when I come here to speak to you, I know that I’m not just speaking to a group of people who want freedom in Iran, but a group of people who have good hearts and believe that freedom is the birthright of all people everywhere and the battle to begin to throw off the oppressors can start in Iran, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re telling the world, “We will start cleansing the world from these…murderous dictators, even if they are holding power, holding power because they say that God gives them that right.” We must stand in unity together, and I am proud to have stood with the people of Iran, and the MEK, in particular, in this wonderful and this magnificent effort to free the people of Iran from the tyranny of the mullah regime. Thank you for letting me be part of your team.
And we know how desperate the mullah regime is getting. When they start having to send assassins into Paris to try to blow up your meeting, that’s not a symbol of strength. That’s a symbol of their weakness. And the fact is, they have now, for the first time in many years, begun to send their people out to commit acts of terrorism. That is our signal for us to increase our efforts to side with the people of Iran and to get rid of their mullah oppressors. They send someone to set a bomb off, and you’re meeting in Paris. When they send someone out to do that; that shows you are having an impact. You are having an impact not only on Iran, but throughout the world, and the world’s impression of what to do about the mullahs.
The MEK, thank God that you have not cowered and run away. I will tell you that I just lost my election, and it’s alright. I’ve been here 30 years, but I did not cower and run away. I ran for reelection knowing that there would be many people, and I don’t know who donated to my opponent’s campaign. I can guess who might have donated. Might be the same people who send bombs in different places in the world. But what I am very grateful for is that you, the MEK, and other people struggling for freedom in Iran came to my assistance. Those people who were legally entitled to participate in our election process came to help me in my battle to win reelection. You have shown yourselves not only to be friends of freedom, but friends of Dana, and I thank you very much for it.
So, the love of liberty burns in our heart. The love of liberty burns in your heart. All the way from the time of Camp Ashraf where innocent people, unarmed people were being slaughtered by the mullah regime and by their puppets in Iraq. All the way from that time all the way to Camp Liberty, and yes, right now as we are involved, and I’m sure all of you are, as well as all freedom loving people, in supporting those people who are now in the streets in Iran demanding that the mullahs leave and leave those people to run their own lives, because the corruption and the corruption and the oppression of the mullah regime has reached its tipping point.
And last year, I said, “Yes, the mullahs are their way out.” And I predict that again this year. I may not be a member of Congress when it happens, but when you ride back in automobiles, in convertible automobiles, and waving at everybody and wishing everybody well in Iran, I’m going to be right there with you. So, God bless you. We did not give up. We did not give up the people of Camp Ashraf. We did not give up the people of Liberty. We have not given up on the people of Iran. The truth will prevail. Decency and honor and democracy will prevail in Iran, and you and I will be proud of being part of that force in the world that cleansed it of the evil mullah regime. Thank you all very much. God bless.
Rep. Steve Cohen: Thank you very much, and I appreciate your appearance and what you do to continue your efforts to see to it that the American Congress, the American people, understand that we need to have a free Iran, a democratic Iran, a secular Iran, and a nonnuclear Iran.
I’ve long been a supporter of the Iranian people for a Free Iran. The Iranian people are important people, valuable people in our world, and unfortunately have been cut off from participation with so much of the rest of the world because of the current regime. I’m a co-chair of the Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, and I’m proud of that. I will continue to condemn the Iranian regime’s abuses of human rights and its support for terrorism. To my Iranian-American friends, thank you for being here and your unwavering support for the fight for democracy and human rights in Iran. Your courage is an inspiration for all. Thank you very much.
Ambassador Adam Ereli:
Thank you everybody, and welcome. I think it’s important to recognize the Organization of Iranian American Communities, who are hosting tonight’s event, and who make so much of what we do possible with their dedication and support and activism. This really is the marriage of—I think the OIAC represents a real marriage of Iran and America in the sense that it is a beautiful example of democracy at work, of citizens working at a grassroots level to effect global change. In this case, Iranian Americans throughout the United States working with their elected representatives, many of whom we’ve seen here tonight, to inform and persuade—inform about the tragedy that is Iran, the crimes that are being perpetrated in Iran every day for the last 40 years by the clerical regime, and to promote change in supporting the MEK, in supporting a free Iran that is consistent with Maryam Rajavi’s ten point plan, and that offers the promise—the real promise—of a secular democracy in a country that has only known absolutism, despotism and a total disregard for the welfare of its citizens for far too long.
You know, I also think in addition to the fact that the OIAC has been extraordinarily effective in mobilizing Congressional action, as demonstrated by tonight’s event and others events, I also think it’s been extraordinarily effective as demonstrated by the words of Iran’s leaders themselves. It’s clear to me and I think it’s clear to anybody who follows Iran closely that the mullahs are afraid. And they’re afraid of you, which does great credit to you and says a lot not only about the power that ordinary citizens like all of us have, but the weakness that is at the heart and at the root of the present regime. When they blame Maryam Rajavi for the protests that have been spreading throughout Iran for the past year, every city, every province, every class, every age, when they blame Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian American diaspora and the MEK for these protests, it just tells you how afraid they are, how vulnerable they are, and how effective you are. Because while we all know that the problems in Iran and the dissatisfaction with the regime go way beyond one simple group, the fat that they pin it all on you to me is a sign that the end is coming. That they know they’re living on borrowed time, that they know there are millions of Iranians both inside of Iran and outside of Iran who have lost faith in their false promises of salvation and that they’re planning for the day after. And the day after is going to look a lot like what we here in the United States know. We will see a secular, a democratic, a nonnuclear and a tolerant Iran that lives up to the ideals that we all espouse and that you defend and promote.
So on behalf of a grateful nation in United States, and on behalf and as a fellow citizen, again, who believes in the power of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things, I thank you, I commend you, and I think that we need to keep working together because we never know when the end will come, but it will come, and it will come thanks to your continuing efforts and support. So thank you very much.
Rep. Ted Poe:
Thank you very much. It’s great to be with you tonight. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for being here. We have come a long way. And I think we should remember that. There were days when folks said that the MEK will never be delisted. But yet those days are gone, and the MEK has been delisted because it is not a terrorist organization. You have encouraged me by your steadfast, tenacious and passionate fight. The fight for your country, the fight for your friends and neighbors that are still in bondage in Iran. And it’s obvious that what you do is making a difference, because you have got the folks in Iran, the mullahs, real nervous. Don’t ever let the mullahs keep you awake at night, because you see you keep them awake at night by fighting for freedom in Iran. And your friends and your neighbors and people you have never even heard of have taken to the streets. Young people, Millennials have taken to the streets in Iran protesting the illegitimate regime in Iran. And they keep doing it, even though the mullahs and the IRGC drag them off and put them in jail and they disappear, they keep protesting, because all they want is what you want, a free Iran. And that day is coming. It will be here. And I hope that even though this may be the last time that I am with you here in Washington, D.C., because I’m going back to Texas, it will not be the last time I see you. Because the next time I see you we will all be together walking the streets of Tehran in a free Iran.
Do not grow weary. Do not grow weary. Do not give up, because the one thing in life that every people and every generation have always wanted was freedom. It’s worth fighting for. And in some cases it’s worth dying for. And some of your friends and family members, they have died for that freedom. And it is not seen yet in Iran but it will be seen. And there will be a day, a day of reckoning where those who have committed such crimes against their own people are going to be held accountable, and Iran will be a free society. And I also want to compliment the women of Iran, the daughters of democracy, who have taken to the streets and are leading the protests throughout the country. Thank you and God bless you. And that’s just the way it is. Thank you very much.
Mrs. Soona Samsami: Other gathering tonight coincides with the anniversary of the December 2017 uprisings. Since then, the Iranian people have continued their protests and uprisings across the nation.
Despite extensive suppression, the execution of dozens of protestors and the arrest of close to 12,000 protesters, demonstrations by a disenchanted population, tired of the policies of the suppressive and corrupt clerical regime, have persisted.
Thousands of workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane factory in the city of Shush, joined by thousands of workers at the Ahvaz Steel plant in Southwestern Iran, have risen up to protest and stage strikes against delayed wages.
A fourth round of strikes by hundreds of thousands of truck drivers started on November 1, and is still more or less continuing.
Every day, defrauded investors in Tehran and other cities stage sit-ins and protests in front of the regime’s parliament and financial institutions that have stolen their life savings. Dignified teachers of Iran have also conducted strikes in different cities.
These accelerating developments have more than ever before brightened the prospect of an Iran that will be free of religious tyranny.
The main reason for this is that the Iranian people’s uprising has been linked with the organized resistance, leaving the inhumane adversary with no options. The ultimate sacrifices of 120,000 martyrs of freedom across Iran over the past three decades have now borne fruit. The new generation, which has especially over the past year chanted in favor of the overthrow of the clerical regime, takes its inspiration from the ultimate sacrifice of the previous generation. In all of Iran’s rebellious towns, dozens, if not hundreds, of members and supporters of the MEK lost their lives for the attainment of freedom.
Khamenei, Rouhani, IRGC commanders, the heads of the parliament and the judiciary, and Friday prayer leaders, have on many occasions acknowledged the role of the MEK and the Units of Rebellion in guiding and continuing the uprisings. The regime’s experts say: “The decisive factor in the persistence and expansion of the protests is the organization of the rioters. They have created organized cells called the Units of Rebellion, which have both the capacity to increase in numbers and also replace leaders on the scene.”
At the same time, the regime has been isolated politically and internationally. Its economy is on the verge of collapse. In the past 12 months, the national currency has lost two-third of its value.
In such conditions, the regime’s only way out of this crippling situation is to plot terrorist attacks against the Iranian Resistance abroad. Revelations about the regime’s terrorist and espionage operations against the Iranian Resistance in Albania, France and the U.S., in March, June, and August, respectively, show the regime’s absolute need to conduct terrorism.
These realities undercut the narrative by the regime’s apologists and appeasement advocates and prove the power and viable future of the organized opposition, making it clear that there is a serious alternative to replace the religious tyranny.
The regime’s financial channels, which supply the coffers of Khamenei and the IRGC, must be shut off. The U.S. must expel the regime’s agents from its territory. And, the European Union must shut down the regime’s embassies, which engage in espionage and terrorism.
Freedom in Iran and regional and global stability and security are within reach. The Iranian Resistance is committed to realizing that based on the ten-point plan articulated by NCRI’s President-elect Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
Against this backdrop, supporting the Iranian people’s uprising for the overthrow of the regime is necessary to establish peace and peaceful co-existence in the region and the world.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee: Greetings to all of you. You can see my sister has on red, I have on green, and you have on white, and so we’re standing in solidarity. I do want to give my sister in Paris my dear regards. And she knows how much we have engaged together. Her freedom, the respect, her love of democracy is something the world needs to know. In this season of giving and cheering, let me affirm the fact that there will be an opportunity for a new Congress to work with both sides of the aisle in passing and assuring, or making sure that the freedom and democracy of Iran does not end, does not cease, the fight continues, and we look to be victorious. The change of Congress will not stop us from fighting for victory.
My friends are so right, it seems as if I’ve been with you for more than a decade as we fought them at the camps, the loss of life, the separation of family, looking for refuge. And we’ve made great strides. We’ve made enormous strides. We certainly have made strides of making sure that the right people were not on the wrong list, they were not on the terrorist list. And it was because of each and every one of you working with us that we claimed victory.
For the children, for the children we want to assure for them a free, nonnuclear, secular, and powerful Iran for those who live in places outside of the country and those in. I want to make sure that artists, that teachers, journalists, I want to make sure that businesspersons, men, women, children, families, people of different faiths can live harmoniously, just like the great and wonderful history of Persia, to make sure that we hear it over and over again, that it lives and it is strong in democracy.
So I’ve come to reignite our friendship, to thank you for never giving up, and to remind you that as we change the guard, if you will, as we take the oath of office and a new majority is in power, please know that democracy will not be far from our heart, our mind and our lips. And that we will be your friends, and we look to have our doors opened and to pass legislation affirming your message of democracy, of freedom, of being secular, of as well being in essence a nonnuclear.
I know we’ve had our discussions, but you can be assured that we will listen. That’s what America is about and that is what our friendship is about. Thank you so very much for being the champion for freedom, justice, democracy. Thank you so very much. And happy, happy holidays for all of those who will participate in holidays around the world. Thank you.