To all of those gathered in Paris today attending this conference calling for a free and democratic Iran, I express my solidarity with you. I have been an admirer of Persian culture – and the other diverse cultures and traditions in Iran – for many years. The Iranian culture is an amalgam of traditions with ancient and unique roots. So many people in that nation are hardworking, well-educated, and family-oriented people. But for too long, the Iranian regime has not reflected the qualities and desires of its people: their acceptance of other cultures and ways of life, their desire for more of a democratic say in determining their destiny, and their hopes for a more inclusive posture for their country in the world.
Persia, throughout history, has been a place to which people seeking refuge have flocked. Now, we know all too well that is no longer the case. But if only the Iranian people could be set free from the awful regime they have, they would be a beacon of strength not only in the Middle East and Central Asia, but to the whole world.
I am committed to doing everything I can to advocate for the freedom the Iranian people deserve, and I hope that they will one day achieve it.