IRAN: Clampdown, Terrorism and Belligerence
Rayburn HOB, U.S. House of Representatives
October 30, 2019
Prominent members of Congress and their staff joined Iranian Americans from across the U.S. at a Congressional Briefing titled, “Iran: Clampdown, Terrorism, and Belligerence.” Speakers and members of Congress discussed congressional efforts on issues important to the Iranian American Community, the Iranian people
and their relevance to U.S. policy towards Iran.
The event, organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) highlighted House Resolution 374, “Condemning Iranian state-sponsored terrorism and expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.” The event also recognized the more than 110 bipartisan co-sponsors of this important resolution.
Chair, House Democratic Caucus
Good afternoon, It’s an honor and a privilege to be here I want to thank each and every one of you for your presence here today and certainly the work that you are undertaking I represent the eighth congressional district of New York back at home one of the most diverse districts in the nation a thirty three percent of the people that I represent as a matter of fact were born outside of the United States of America we know traditionally people have come from Brooklyn. Come to Brooklyn and queens from all over the world to pursue the American dream and that of course includes the Iranian American community in New York City and so with thankful for you I know the reigning American community to be hardworking and entrepreneurial family oriented spiritually grounded community centered.
And you cook good food so we certainly appreciate what you mean to the gorgeous mosaic of the city of New York as well as the country and I certainly appreciate your fight for freedom and justice and equality we stand with you as it relates to making sure that democracy is brought to Iran. We stand with you as it relates to the promotion of the rule of law and freedom for all people who should be allowed to be able to pursue their hopes their dreams and aspirations we stand with you as it relates to ensuring a nuclear free Iran.
And we stand with you as part of the effort to make sure that we can bring Iran back into the community of nations consistent with the proud history of the Persian people so thank you for your presence thank you for your effort thank you for the fight will be with you every step of the way god bless you.
Committee on Homeland Security
It is my privilege to be here and to really congratulate all the members that have come to stand with you. So many of you know that we have traveled this journey together as we fought for those who were suffering in camps in Iraq. We are still standing together, as we stood with mothers who could not find their children, could not hear from their family. And we stood with families whose family members were in camps and were suffering from cancer and couldn’t get treatment.
But we all did this because we want a free and democratic Iran. And I want to thankyou so very much for standing and continuing to stand. I call her my sister and her ten points, the 10-points of liberation to finally arrive at the point where the people of Iran welcome democracy, freedom, and empowerment and the fair treatment of women.
Persian history is history that would never be wiped out. It is a history with the tradition, I believe, of understanding the value of culture but also, as we move into the twentieth and twenty first century, the value of embracing and welcoming all people. So, as you well know, I am an original co-sponsor of H.Res. 374 and we are well aware of the work that we still need to do.
I am saddened by the where we are as a nation, the United States, and where we are in terms of engagement. But I want to see the people of Iran empowered. I want to see those who are fighting for democracy in power. And I would make the point that members of congress should be able to travel to Iran and meet with those who are fighting for democracy. And, as you well know, we have removed the unfair terrorist tag. All those years we fought so that we don’t have the terrorist label anymore for those who are fighting for democracy. We should be able to join you and go back to Iran, to meet up with those who are seeking the return of their brothers and sisters for a free and democratic Iran.
Let me thank you so very much as we are in the midst of hearings and midst of different fights here in the United States Congress. But I rushed past some of my friends. I going to give them a high five when I go back out. But it is because we are rushing around and I did not want to miss the opportunity to encourage you and to let you know my passion for visiting and being with a free and democratic Iran with my sisters and my sister, a great leader who now lives in France but is espousing democracy around the world.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Thanks for everybody being in attendance.
Your support, your perseverance are all noted. You are on the right side of history. It’s just going to take perseverance.
Red-handedly we have seen the Iranian hierarchy being caught trying to expel and eradicate the opposition to a free Iran. No questions can be asked about that. So, I think its pretty im-portance particularly at this time in history, that we concentrate those efforts. One of those efforts being House Resolution 374 that calls out and condemns this application.
We need to join with this administration. We need further denounce and put addition ac-tions against the Iranian regime so the Iranian people can be returned to power to a free Iran. That is where we need to go, we need to be perseverant. You have done that. You have followed the course of history. And I think history will be kind to you as well.
It is a movement that is just, right and we need to see Iran returned.
Thank you for all the things you have done for me. Thank you for educating us. That is one the things we need to do more of; Is to spend time with staff and members of Congress so they fully understand about the conditions that persevere today in Iran.
Imagine what it would look like when regime change happens. Imagine. That should be our goal, a free Iran.
Thank you very much.
Ways and Means Committee
Thank you very much and I’m delighted that I can be here and to stop by for a few minutes. As I was walking down the hall, I was thinking of how important it is that you gather, how important it is that you continue to meet and press forward.
You know our world right now is experiencing a tremendous amount of turmoil. Over the years we have made tremendous progress in the movement towards freedom, equal opportunity, and justice. But yet there seem to be many in our world who want to take us back, who want to take us back to yesteryear. Take us back to yesterdays. And rather than moving forward, want to maintain the status quo.
I believe that the only way that freedom ever exists is from continued struggle, that those who would profess a love for freedom, as Fredrick Douglas once said, they want to be free but not do what is necessary. It’s clear to me that you understand that. Because there is no such thing as experiencing freedom, or experiencing the rain without the thunder or lightening. There is no way you can experience the development of crops without first plowing up the ground.
I often hear people, I happen to be a Protestant, and many people who practice the same faith that I do, often say a prayer, they call it “The Lord’s Prayer”. I noticed one thing about the prayer, is before where you get to the glory, you first have to experience the power.It says, “Give us the power, then you can experience the glory”. You cannot experience the glory without first developing the power.
Sometimes it looks as though our task is more than we think we can accomplish. But as long you keep moving, as long as there is life, as long as there is breath, you believe strongly enough in what it is that you want to accomplish, then you just set out and do it no matter what the odds appear to be. Often when I talk to young people, especially those who consider themselves deprived, I suggest to them that they can accomplish whatever they set out to do, and whatever you put into the effort, then you can rejoice in the victory.
So, I would just simply say to you, often your task will be many and more than you think you can do, but set out everyday that you wake up, with faith in your heart and climb until your dreams come true. Often the roads would be rugged and the hills insurmountable too, but faith is a mover of mountains.
There is nothing people cannot due. So, start out every day with faith in your heart, and keep struggling, climbing, working, hoping and being unified. And I do believe that your dreams of freedom will ring true.
Thank you very much.
House Financial Services Committee
(Excerpts) – Thank you for being here and thanks for the opportunity to be with you today. I would rather answer questions than to sit here you know the issues as well or better than I do and I’m sure you’d probably rather listen to an opinion or get some ideas or answers to some of your questions you know I’m supportive of what you’re trying to do.
I support you as a group I think Iran is a country as it has a lot of promise and forcing of some people running it right now that are you know not the best people in the world to do that I mean there are more bad guys and good guys quite frankly so you know that better than I do but that’s just the way it is right now so whatever we can do to be helpful I’m gonna be continuing to do that we had a great conversation a while ago and a lot of good information back and forth so I’d I really just take your questions.
Well I was at a dinner last night and the president was there and he was talking about the things that are going on there in Syria and Turkey and the Kurds in Iran and Russia and China all the folks are the players in that area there right with regards to what came here about the last couple weeks and you know he’s very concerned about the future of the area and he’s trying to find a way to sort of destabilize it or to stabilize it so it doesn’t blow up but I think standpoint of what I think you can do I tell us everybody when they come to my office I think you just be able to tell a story.
Each one of you has a story today is a great story a personal story but you can tell this morning a great story about why you came to this country what you believe is going on, there is right or wrong and how you can be helpful and your personal story is very impactful to somebody like me because we are used to talking to lobbyists who talked at thirty thousand feet. Talk about all the issues like that whenever you can bring it home to an individual that is impacted that means something so, talk to myself or my colleagues tell your personal story or stories of your family members or friends or acquaintances whoever it is that can be impactful to make your case. That is how you can make the best sale quite frankly and you were the best salesman for that because you can tell the story better than anybody else…
We want to know what’s really going on, everyone knows we can listen to the TV in the media and you know that’s one side…and to listen to your side, what’s really going; on how you really feel; what’s the behind the scenes stuff that you had the indoor or know about or can fill in the blanks for us. That is what we really need, that kind of information and so only you can give it to us. That is what is important…
If you get the media on your side I mean these are stories that they normally like to cover although they don’t like this administration and so if this administration supports it I probably won’t want to cover and so that’s unfortunate because this is a non-partisan issue this shouldn’t be partisan at all but it’s everything’s become partisan around here for the last three years not to say before that it wasn’t, just raised it to another level…
Have delegations to go to the White House delegation to come see us raise it with us have advocates here in Congress to work on those issues to keep the spotlight on the issue…I can’t give you a much better answer than that you know you need to keep that issue in front of people you again you are the best advocate for that issue…I think it’s telling your story keeping it out there keep the media focused on it a getting some advocates in Congress and you know having your group make sure they have an advocate to the White House summer to administration…
This president is a little different from past US presidential standpoint that he’s not necessarily for regime change, and then have you know he wants the people to do that, he doesn’t want to do that himself, he doesn’t want the United States to be the point of spear on a regime change in this situation.
You know getting support for ready and rebel fighters perhaps would be a way to go…that he would be willing to look at in support of the sanctions, are ways that he can do this sort of indirectly. But this president doesn’t like to nation build, he doesn’t as you see with in the in the Turkey…He doesn’t want to be in the middle of those flights that never end and believes that the people who are there should be in control…
The past administration had a nuclear deal which allow them to continue to build the nuclear devices and although extended out…
You know the media is got to be willing to be on your side on this issue and give them a reason to be there, show why the people are being oppressed…
House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Let me start with good afternoon. And thank you for being her and thanks for inviting me back. As we gather in solidarity for the Iranians who still suffer, oppression, intimidation and suppres-sion under the boots of the corrupt, violet regime in Tehran.
I’m honored to cosponsor the house resolution 374 which condemns Iranian sponsor terrorism and express strong support for desire for a free democratic secular and non-nuclear republic of Iran. We demand the refugees in Iranian diaspora be free from the threat of violence and intimidation directed form Tehran and elsewhere and that host country make maximum efforts to protect them. We also urge free people around the world stand up and oppose those brutal gov. which brutalizes opposition oppresses women criminalizes religious minorities and exist only because of fear and military corruption by the IRGC guard and other terrorist enablers of the current re-gime.
Let me say I fully support Mrs. Rajavi’s 10 point plane for a free, democratic Iran that once again return to the family of nations not as terrorist state but as bastion of culture, trade and high achievement that worthy of proud history of Persian people.
The NCRI of Iran is the beating heart of freedom for the Iranian people. And I am proud to sup-port you here in Washing and back in St. Louis as well. Let me also mention my good friend who has been helping me over the years my dear friend Mr. Nejat for your friendship and support, let me thank you all for standing up for freedom in Iran and around the world.
May it be God’s will the freedom and justice come soon and thank you very much.
Dr. Majid Sadeghpour
Political Director, Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC)
U.S. Congress has for the past few decades has been on the forefront of issues that is important to the people of Iran/
First thing that comes to mind, is the Human Rights violations in Iran. It was the US congress that pushed for the sanctions on the Iranian regime that forced the Iranian regime to come to the table on the nuclear issue. It was the US congress the pushed the H. Res. 188 content of which later became part of bipartisan resolution H.R. 4744 and unanimously passed by the House. Congressional leadership on this issue led to the inclusion of this horrific humanitarian disaster in the 2018 U.N. Secretary General Report. There is now a global call to investigate the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. In a 200 page document published in December 2018, Amnesty International called the massacre an “ongoing crime against humanity,” and called for the U.N. Security Council to investigate it. It is important to note that regime leaders who are responsible for the 1988 massacre, are currently in Rouhani’s administration – a fact reiterated by Chairman Engel at a vigil we held on Capitol lawn last month.
Second, Regime’s International Terrorism. It is important to note here that regulatory framework for the current U.S. policy on Iran has been outlined first by bipartisan and unanimous House & Senate Resolutions. This includes the Designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a FTO. This includes sanctions on Iranian regime’s financial transactions, and the need to counter its terrorist activities across the globe. In addition to fomenting more trouble in the region, including attacks on the Saudi Arabia, the proxy wars in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, Iranian regime is increasingly using the IRGC and its Quds Force to plan terror operations in the Western Hemisphere. In 2018, the regime dispatched a high ranking diplomat, armed him with a military grade explosive device to Bomb a gathering of over 100,000 in Paris, France, where hundreds, if not thousands of our community members were attending. Iranian Americans had gone there to support National Council of Resistance of Iran and Madam Maryam Rajavi’s 10 point plan for future Iran.
Less than 2 months afterwards, Denmark foiled another assassination plot involving Iranian diplomats. Earlier this year, the Government of Albania, a NATO country, expelled 2 Iranian diplomats, including Iranian Ambassador for their direct role in multiple terrorist operations against Iranian dissidents in that country. Just last week, Albania discovered an active terrorist paramilitary unit run by the IRGC.
In Short, Iranian regime leaders, including its Foreign Minister Zarif, its President Rouhani, and Supreme leader Khamenei and the entire Diplomatic Core and Embassies are engaged in:
1. Ordering and Whitewashing regime’s Human Rights Atrocities
2. Covering Up and enabling Iranian terrorism across the world
3. Guiding its nuclear and ballistic missile programs
Just as H.Res.188 helped to at last inject Iranian regime crimes against humanity into political discourse, the United States Congress is acting, with H.Res.374, to express support for the Iranian people, by giving visibility to regime’s use of its supposedly diplomatic infrastructure to commit and cover up its acts of in-ternational terrorism.
We thank you for joining us today and hope discussions today will help inform congressional decision making and actions.
Mr. Alireza Jafarzadeh
Deputy Director, U.S. Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
(Excerpts) – The argument that the regime’s lobby is making is the Iranian people are suffering as a result of sanctions and the economic hardship they are facing is actually the fault of the international community. In reality it’s a big lie and it contradicts all the facts on the ground. The fact is protests in Iran started way back before sanctions were re-imposed on the Iranian regime.
All the other institutions that control Iranian economy, we are talking about billions of dollars of resources and assets controlled by them. The so-called privatization program that was instigated by Khamenei back in 2005, which was meant supposedly to give the private sector more power and economic resources, those private sectors were none other than the revolutionary guards. So, the revolutionary guards are controlling the Iranian economy and they are the ones who are plun-dering the wealth of the Iranian nation.
Mr. Babak Dadvand
Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC)
Ladies and gentleman,
On behalf of Organization of Iranian American Communities, I welcome all of you to this im-portant and timely event in US House of Representatives.
For our communities, our focus over the years has been on the issue of terrorism and human rights in Iran. That is why we are very proud to see the growing support from both parties on H. Res 374 which addresses these issues head on. Last month, we hosted an outdoor exhibit to honor the 30,000 political prisoners massacred by the same people who are running the regime today. The call for freedom is growing stronger day by day in Iran. The people of Iran are in the midst of ongoing uprising and protests which has spread to more than 160 cities across the country. Their call is our call. They demand freedom, democracy, and end of terror and abuse of human rights by the mullah’s regime.