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Full text of speech by James Conway at Grand Gathering – 2017

Aug 31
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By Staff Writer, Iran Probe

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Good evening to the freedom loving people of Iran both here and in Albania.

Much has been spoken at this conference about the idea regime change, much more has been written about it in the weeks leading up. And what I'd like to do with a few moments I have available with you is take sort of a pragmatic military man approach in conjunction with my good friend George here and try to answer a couple of very pertinent questions. What does regime change look like and how do you know that you will be successful? What must you do to be successful?

And whether or not that change comes, three months from now, a year from now, three years from now, those questions will remain the same and they must be addressed.

In order to try to help answer those questions I want to tell you a short story. In 1979, I was a young Marine captain assigned to camping zone in North Carolina.

And I, many of you people were not born in 1979, I accept that but nevertheless some of those of you who were, remember that was a time of the rebellion against the Shah. And I watched that nightly news every night with great interests in terms of what was going to be the outcome in your country.

One night in particular a newscaster said you have got to see this footage watch closely what happens here. And the film showed a squad of Iranian soldiers with their rifles, sweeping a street of what they would have called dissidents and a one point one of the Iranian soldiers corners a young man in a door facing and he's beating him with a butt of his rifle. Another soldier maybe from here to the wall turns looks around and shoots him twice in the back. And the soldier in the doorway obviously falls dead. At that point the reporter comes in and says this may be critical.

If the army is turning the Shah cannot last and you know he was exactly right he was exactly right with regard to what happened to the Shah just a few weeks later. He's right historically in terms of what happens when a people begin regime change and the army has to make a decision.

Now Iranian armed forces, we have a 125,000 Revolutionary Guard.
Ladies and gentlemen; They will not ever support you. They are a Cubs mortars and terrorist they simply have to be killed or exercised from your country when you succeed.

You have thirty thousand in the air force, eighteen thousand in the Navy, they're helpful but they're not the key.  The key to regime change is the army, 350,000 Iranian soldiers in the Iranian army. Why are they critical because those men many of whom inductees are closest to the people on the street? They are the fathers and the sons and the brothers and sisters of the people who are dying in the street and they are most likely to be able to turn and resists supporting the government if they're having to kill their own people we've seen it happen that way time and again.

How will it happen? That can happen with a peaceful demonstration that turns into conflict the more successful the demonstration; the more likely people are to be shot. What we need to see happen is one General with great courage, change. He needs to say, do I support my government or do I support my country and they're not the same thing.

And if this General changes there will be another one and another and another and the army can make a difference. The Army has the time they have the numbers they can control the situation on the ground.

So, the army will be critically important to what you do in the future. Now those countries represented here to include my own are also critical to the equation. We cannot do what we did in 2009 which is exhibit a lack of moral courage and indecision and sit on our hands.

Good people died in the streets in 2009 and we did nothing. I honestly think they were that close. I honestly think that the army was evaluating what should we do. But the lack of support from other nations in America in Europe in the Middle East, caused those people to feel very much alone in the end they lost. That cannot happen if those Generals are to not risk their troops not risk their families not risk themselves they have to feel like they can be supported and make a good decision for what is good for a free Iran.

So, ladies and gentlemen.

I wish for you that the Gods of the freedom loving people everywhere support your efforts. I encourage you, your objective should be the overthrow of those Ayatollahs. Who have created a dark period in Iranian history.

Your objective is the overthrow of the Ayatollahs, your target in order to be able to successfully do that should be the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

thank you very much.

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