Bipartisan US Congressional Members from California
Sent Solidarity Messages to the 2018 Free Iran Grand Gathering
June 30, 2018 – Paris, France
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives
Hello, it is my pleasure to send my warm regards to advocates and friends to a free Iran. This year the world has watched men and women bravely stand up for their rights in peaceful protests across the country. There courage and determination inspires all to recommit to our shared mission, to build a democratic, free and non-nuclear Iran.
America stands in solidarity with every Iranian man and woman and child as they fight for the right to speak freely without fear of persecution. We stand with them to advance peace and stability in Iran and end the regime support of terrorists around the world. And we stand with them to build a secure future, where our children can live free from the fear of nuclear weapons. Until the Iranians attain all the human rights, dignity and freedom they deserve, our work is not over. Thank you
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in US Congress
Hello I am Congressman Brad Sherman, from America’s best named city, Sherman Oaks, California. And for 22 years, I have served on the foreign affairs committee in the House of Representatives, where I have made it a priority to fight for human rights in Iran and that starts by advocating for a non-nuclear Iran that is democratic, secular and free. That’s why I am honored to be speaking before the International grand gathering for free Iran once again this year. But since I addressed this rally last year, there has been major new developments, while the regime had continued to conduct mass executions, to jail journalists and fuel extremism across the region. Everyday Iranians have stood up and said, “enough”! and were great risks to themselves and their families. They have come out to the streets to shout “No Ghaza, No Lebanon, No Syria, My Life for Iran”.
We stand with solidarity with the brave Iranians fighting for this new chapter. None of us will know what will happen with these protests, quite frankly, with the protesters themselves. But each person marching on the streets should know that the United States is their friend. Your fight, is our fight. And we stand with you as you face down a regime that cares nothing for its own people’s freedom or prosperity.
I want to commend Madam Rajavi, for continuing her advocacy for democracy, women’s rights and minority rights in Iran. Democracy and equality are not just principles we hold here, they are rights that belong to all people and we hold these ideals by showing our support for the brave protesters in Tehran and Mashhad and across Iran. This year I was proud to manage on the House Floor, House Resolution 676, a Congressional Resolution that supports exactly those people.
Once again, I should thank the MEK for being the first organization to bring Iran’s nuclear program to the attention of the world back in 2002. The elites of Iran also must be sanctioned for their egregious violations of human rights, including infringing free speech.
This May, I sent a letter to the president demanding that we force sanctions against companies located anywhere in the world that exports censorship technologies to the Iranian government. This action is required by legislation I helped pass in law in the wake of the 2009 protests and which today unfortunately is not enforced. This past year, I joined in introducing the IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act of 2017 to require the president to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity. I also co-sponsored the Iran Human Rights Hostage Taking Accountability Act which passed the House of Representatives this April and will impose sanctions on the Iranian regime for its unlawful detentions of both American and Iranians.
Sanctions like these will not only press Tehran to stop abusing its own people, but will also help bring back the regime to the nuclear negotiating table. Under the JCPOA, we can sanction the regime proportionally to its wrong doing in non-nuclear matters. That wrong doing includes its activities in Yemen, and Syria, to the streets of Isfahan and Shiraz. That wrong doing is massive and the sanctions should be massive. A prosperous Iran must be a peaceful Iran, where the Iranian people’s freedom and human rights are restored. You believe in this future, I believe in this future and together, we will continue working towards a secular, non-nuclear and democratic Iran, where this goal can become a reality.
I am Congressman Brad Sherman from California. Thank you very much.
Member of Budget Committee in US Congress
Hi everybody, I am Congressman Tom McClintock of California. The Iranian movement has continued to grow and spread throughout the years. As the tyranny of the mullahs has become more extreme, the international resistance to them has become more resolute. The more the story of Iran is told of its proud ancient heritage to freedom and civilization, and its current curse of despotism and terror, the more the world has rallied to your cause. 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. We’ve seen it in the growing support for the grand resistance rally that meets here today.
At a turning point in the liberation of America, Thomas Pain spoke of times that try men’s souls; such a time is coming in Iran, where the struggle for freedom is reaching a critical hour. Years of repression 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 are now approaching one of those rare moments in history where the world could change overnight. Twice before in 2009 and again in 2015 discontent rose to a boiling point within Iran. Both times, the Obama Administration turned its back on the long suffering people of Iran and instead worked to legitimize and stabilize this dying regime. In 2015, Mr. Obama handed 1.7 billion dollars in cash over the mullahs, including 400 million dollars in untraceable Euros and dollars placed on cargo pallets and flown to Tehran. We have many Iranian expatriates in my district in California and they tell me that immediately following this shameful spectacle, the Iranian guard expanded dramatically and began a brutal round of repression that cost thousands of Iranians their lives. But their families now report the desperation has reached such a point that Iranians are willing to risk their lives in the streets. As one told a family member, “they can’t kill all of us”.
Iran is one of the oldest, greatest civilization in the history of mankind, yet it’s been suppressed and plundered by a click of theocratic thugs that comprise the Iranian government. Their claim on power is illegitimate and the time to topple them has come. I strongly support the Iranian people’s resistance and I stand behind President Trump’s strong word of backing and encouragement. I believe it’s time for the United States to step forward with material support for the freedom movement. For every dollar Obama gave this brutal dictatorship, we now owe to the Iranians who are desperately trying to restore freedom to themselves and their posterity.
Under President Trump’s leadership we made significant progress towards the liberation of Iran. We banned federal funds from being used to aid in exports and imports. We’ve extended and expanded the ban on transactions involving nations that engage in human rights violations and international terrorism of which Iran is one of the worst. We’ve expanded the arms embargo and congress has repeatedly expressed its support for the solidarity of the Iranian people. But the Iranian people need more than our good wishes and the time has come to act.
They need direct satellite access to the internet that the regime has denied them on the ground. They need us to restore economic sanctions against the regime and US leadership in a renewed international boycott of Iran. They need the voice of America to express unqualified support for the resistance movement in Iran and it will send a powerful message to the Iranian people, if we would invite Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran to address a joint session of Congress. Turning points like these do not come often and Thomas Pain was right that in such moments this summer soldiers and the sunshine patriots will shrink from their duty but those who stand it now deserve posterity’s gratitude. For too long the United States has shirked its responsibility and the time has come to stand tall with the freedom movement of Iran.
Member of Ways and Means Committee in US Congress
Hello, I am Congresswoman Judy Chu, from California’s 27th district and I want to send my best wishes for a successful 2018 international convention for a Free Iran. I am sorry I could not join you in person, but from here in Washington DC to all of you in Paris, I want you to know that I stand in solidarity with you in your fight for freedom, democracy and human rights in Iran. And I am so impressed by the many students, scholars, former political prisoners, women’s rights advocates, and other leaders, who joined together once again for this important cause. I am especially moved by the courage of Iranian women who are taking to the streets, even though it means putting themselves at risk. But they are not alone.
The images of their struggle are being shared across the world and people of conscience everywhere are standing with the people of Iran as they demand freedom for a regime so theocratic and cruel it dictates even how they can dress. The women sitting in an Iranian prison today for the crime of removing their headscarves are heroes to women all over the world who strive for equality. I am proud of their courage, but also look forward to the day when a women is not putting herself at risk for expressing herself.
But Iran’s human rights abuses extend beyond just women, last year alone, Iran’s theocratic government executed hundreds. Many for drugs and a few for crimes committed as children. Journalists are prosecuted for speaking the truth and their freedom of expression, association, and assembly remain heavily restricted for the Iranian people. That is why I am so proud to stand with you and speak out against Iran’s theocratic leaders. I strongly support your work to establish a free and democratic Iran that works with the US and others to build a safer world; not one that funds terror or abuses its own people. So thank you again for all your important work to promote human rights and a more free Iran and know that I am proud to join you in this effort.
Member of Agriculture Committee in US Congress
Greetings. I am Congressman Doug LaMalfa. I am coming to you today to talk to you about supporting a free Iran, one with a democratically elected government process, one that respects men and women, one that’s, well not seek to proliferate in the nuclear race, one that will indeed give Iran back the individual responsibilities and liberties it used to have before, one that was so prosperous. Under the current regime, people don’t have choices, people don’t have true freedom and it doesn’t make a good trading partner around the world.
Iran has so many resources, so many great people that would be a good partner in the Middle East and around the world if they had the right form of governance. What NCRI is doing, I support and that will help turn the tide and bring about a form of government that is fair to the people and one that is tailored to fit what the people of Iran need.
Member of Energy and Commerce Committee in US Congress
Hello, I am Dr. Raul Ruiz, representative of California’s 36th Congressional District. I am proud to send this message with my constituency participating in this year’s international convention for a Free Iran. I am heartened by the ongoing protest in Iran, calling for a free, secular, nuclear free democratic Iranian and an end to the dictatorship of the current regime. We need to support the grass roots of the political movement in Iran to achieve this change by ensuring Iranian citizens have unrestricted access to the internet and that they can organize freely.
Through this process I am hopeful that the Iranians can achieve their freedom and that they can establish a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Iran. And it is also my hope that Iran will join the international community in recognizing freedom of assembly and press, equality for men and women and equal rights for the ethnic and religious minorities. I thank the Organization of Iranian American Communities for the work to achieve this vision for a free Iran. Together we can make this a reality.
Free Iran 2018 – The Alternative
Paris – June 30, 2018
As anti-government demonstrations, labor strikes, and other forms of protests continue in Iran, on Saturday, June 30, 2018, thousands of Iranian Americans joined tens of thousands of Iranians, former and current U.S. government officials, and parliamentarians from more than 40 countries participated at the “Free Iran 2018 – the Alternative” gathering in Paris, France.
A co-sponsor of the event, Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC-US) and thousands of Iranian Americans from 40 states, united with distinguished U.S. and international political leaders as well as human rights activists to support the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its platform for a free, secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic in Iran.
Event’s keynote speaker was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. In her remarks, she addressed the plight of the Iranian people and offered guidance for the international community. “I have come here to declare what you want: The overthrow of this regime is inevitable. Victory is certain and Iran will be free,” she told the tens of thousands of attendees, who cheered in response.
Mrs. Rajavi noted that, “Since the January uprising, the signs of change in Iran and the regime’s overthrow have appeared. The prospects for the victory of Iran’s democratic revolution, devoid of the mullahs and the Shah are looming. Through their uprisings and by relying on resistance units, the Iranian people have the leverage they need to topple this regime.”
She also outlined 5 reasons pointing to looming downfall of the religious dictators in Iran:
- “First, owing to the presence of the Resistance movement, the so-called solution within the religious fascism has become null and void.”
- “The second sign that the phase of the regime’s overthrow has arrived is that for the past six months the Iranian people have waged an uprising and a protest movement despite maximum suppression, despite the so-called suicides by the detainees in the mullahs’ prisons and despite daily arrests and executions designed to intimidate the public.”
- “The third sign of the inevitable overthrow of the ruling religious fascism is that social tensions and economic crises, especially high prices, unemployment, poverty, and inequality have reached an irreversible point.”
- “The fourth sign of the phase of the regime’s overthrow is that internationally, the mullahs have lost the most important backer of the policy of appeasement, namely the United States. The international shield safeguarding the regime has fallen by the way side.”
- “The fifth and most important signal of the phase of the mullahs’ overthrow is that the very development which the mullahs feared the most has happened: the linkage between the fury of the deprived and oppressed and the organized Resistance movement.”
About the role Iranian people and resistance are playing in making democratic regime change possible in Iran, Madam Rajavi reminded international policymakers, governments, and the audience that, “the overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice, requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberty army…”
“We call for the establishment of a society based on freedom, democracy, and equality, which has clear demarcations with despotism and dependence as well as gender, ethnic and class discrimination” Mrs. Rajavi said, adding, “We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, assembly, unions, associations and syndicates.’’
From the United States, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Gov. Bill Richardson, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, 3 Retired Generals, a Former Prime Minister of Canada, congressional staff, religious leaders, and many more prominent dignitaries participated in the gathering.
Other prominent speakers included; Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kushner, Former Foreign Minister of Italy Jiulio Terzi,
Iranian regime’s fear of this huge gathering and the growing prospect of democratic regime change in Iran became immediately evident when on July 2, 2018; European authorities announced that an diplomat attached to Iranian embassy in Austria and at least 2 Iranian terrorists living in Europe were arrested and charged for plotting to bomb the Free Iran 2018 – the Alternative rally.
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani were among many officials and prominent personalities who condemned the clerical regime for plotting to kill thousands of innocent civilians, American citizens and using its embassies for terror plots.
Former Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich called the gathering “impressive and emotionally powerful” and in his remarks recognized Madam Rajavi’s earlier remarks on freedom and its costs and said, “the only way to safety in the region is to replace the dictatorship with democracy…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.”
Mr. Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and DNC Chairman, also spoke at the gathering and outlined why Maryam Rajavi and the Iranian resistance movement represent a viable alternative to Iran’s religious dictatorship:
“You’re the ones that have fought against the shah. You fought against the dictatorship, against the religious dictatorship. You were there in the trenches fighting and dying. And you represent a platform, a democratic platform of freedom and democracy. You stand for gender equality. You stand for the UN charter in human rights. You stand for free and fair elections. You stand for the private sector. You stand for the end of Sharia law. You stand for democracy and young people having an opportunity for a future. For a future with jobs.”
Among other prominent U.S. and international officials speaking or participating at the gathering were:
Former FBI Director, Louis Freeh
Ret. four Star General George Casey
Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
Former Senator Robert Toricelli
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Terzi
Former French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner
Bipartisan members of the United States Congress also sent messages of solidarity those attending the Iran Freedom 2018 – the Alternative gathering:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Senator John Boozman (R-AR)
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Senator David Purdue (R-GA)
Congressman Elliot Engel (D-NY)
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Congressman Michael McClintock (R-CA)
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA)
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
Congressman Paul Ruiz (D-CA)
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX)
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Congressman Brian Babin (R-TX) (R-TX)
Congressman Steve Cohn (D-TN)
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL)
Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO)
Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)
“To my brothers and sisters and fellow freedom fighters in Iran,” said Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), “The brutal assaults, arrests and murder of the Iranian people by the Mullahs will not stop the people protesting the illicit regime.” In his message, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, praised Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi and reminded Iranians everywhere that they must keep their heads high and remember that they, “are on the right side of history. The tide is turning. The land of Iran the historical land of Persia does not belong to mullahs.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also expressed her “commitment and support” for “a secular, democratic, non-nuclear republic Iran as addressed; and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10 point plan.” I believe that democratic change within Iran is within our reach.” Addressing Iranian Americans and convention participants, Rep. Jackson added, “As you meet over these days and as you speak about freedom, the sound of your voices will reach to Iran and those who are fighting for freedom, separate and apart from an oppressive regime, they will be victorious.”