On Thursday, December 8, the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) hosted a bipartisan congressional briefing featuring a group of US Senators who expressed their utter support for the Iranian people’s uprising, which has lasted despite the regime’s heavy crackdown in the past three months. They also supported the Iranian people’s desire to establish a democratic country.
This event was also attended by three prominent American personalities, former Senator and presidential candidate Joe Liberman, former Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Ambassador Marc Ginsberg. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed the conference via video message.
Mrs. Rajavi said in her message, “The time has come for the US Senate to recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the regime and the legitimate right of Iranian youths to fight the IRGC.”
Mrs. Rajavi highlighted, “Our people are paying with blood the price of fighting a regime with which the world is fed up. Why are the governments and international institutions not taking any steps except issuing ineffective statements? Why a child-killing regime that brutally represses women and imposes discrimination against them is a member of the UN institutions? Is this not an insult to humanity? The regime’s membership in the Commission on the Status of Women and its membership in UNICEF should be terminated immediately. Fortunately, the process of expulsion from the CSW is underway. The Iranian Resistance expects the US Senate to lead an initiative to expel the regime from UNICEF. It is time for the United States and its allies in the P5+1 to, instead of continuing negotiations which will only serve the regime’s criminal policies, impose all the UN Security Council resolutions against the regime and return the sanctions without delay.”
Below are some excerpts of remarks by prominent US Senators and participants who spoke in support of a free and democratic Iran:
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “We live in historic times and a historic moment, so I’ll sit down with Jeanne [Senator Shaheen] to see what we can do to lend our voice to the people out on the streets and the villages and the towns of Iran, saying enough is enough. I think we’ve reached a point now in the 21st Century where it’s a time of choosing. So, I choose the people of Iran over the Ayatollahs.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): “In New Hampshire, we care about what is happening in Iran. In Iran, people are taking to the streets to demand basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. The world is watching, and we are standing in awe of what is happening in Iran, but it is not enough to be impressed by their bravery. We must also stand in lockstep with the people of Iran as they struggle to take back their lives and their freedoms.”
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC): “I think we have to put maximum pressure on the Iranian leadership. We cannot trust the leadership of Iran… We have to keep economic pressure on. We have to hold them accountable. We have to have the world organizations recognize what they’re doing, and we can’t let our foot off the gas pedal until we have a regime change. There is no way for these leaders to change their hearts. There’s no way. So, we have to use every device with all of our global partners that we have available to complete the job that you’re all working so hard on. To the Iranian people, and to Iranian Americans, know that I stand with you every step of the way.”
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO): “We are very busy but not too busy to stand up for freedom in Iran. We have a government that executes people, like they did last night, to keep everyone in line. When the government has to raid the biggest university to keep people subjugated, there is clearly a problem there that the world needs to stand up for… People are willing to risk their lives and even give their lives for freedom, the least we can do is everything we can possibly do to encourage that and to support that.”
Former Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT): The torch of the NCR MEK grows brighter in my opinion, with each passing day. The organization gives us confidence that the current regime will be overthrown, and most importantly, that when it is there will be leaders ready to guide Iran smoothly into its free and democratic future.
“Today, the people of Iran are putting their lives at grave risk in a heroic revolution against their government for the same values that are enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence, and there are values. Will we stand passively by and allow our enemies, sworn enemies in the Iranian government, to prevail?”
“It’s time for the US to stop currying favor with the Iranian regime. It’s time for the US to stop trying to appease the regime, even by attacking the worst enemies of the regime, including the NCRI. It is time for the US to walk proudly and defiantly away from the demeaning negotiations with Iran for a new JCPOA, that game is over.”
“The US government should ask our E3 allies in Europe to invoke snapback sanctions under Security Council resolution 2231 that would formally end the JVPOA and restore the International Arms Embargo on Iran.”
“The US and Europe should focus on the families of Iranian regime officials who are living in the US, in, in Europe, and revoke their visas and confiscate their assets.”
Chairman Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “I like to recognize the National Council of Resistance of Iran for their commitment to elevate your voices, the voices of Iranian inside of Iran, and constantly advocate for the freedom of the Iranian people… There is a critical inflection point for every Iranian fighting for their fundamental rights… We have seen the incredible bravery and courage of Iranians from all walks of life… For 90 days, we have seen Iranians march in the streets to confront the misogynous regime. At the same time, we have seen the regime respond with the brutality that we all know too well. They have killed hundreds of protesters and arrested tens of thousands more. We have seen how ruthless and desperate they are to keep their grip on power. The United States and the international community cannot be silent. To those who say we shouldn’t get too much involved in advocacy for the Iranian protesters because it will be seen as America is generating this, I say giving voice to those inside Iran so that what they say can be heard across the globe as Iranians protesting. I think the United States needs to be raising this issue in every international forum that we can as we have done with allies from the U.N. Human Rights Council to the Commission on Women, and we should be using the tools we have to help circumvent the regime’s efforts to jam communications of its own people, and we should invoke Magnitsky and other sanctions against those who are perpetrating this heinous act. They must know that they are not beyond the reach of justice… The Iranian protesters’ demands for justice and fundamental rights are inspirational, especially in the face of the Iranian regime’s response. All they want is to live a life in peace and prosperity, a visceral and emotional display of the power of simply pursuing peace. So let us keep standing up to the regime’s human rights violations and violence. Let us continue to protect those in Ashraf 3 and I am committed to doing that. Let’s keep fighting the senseless repression of women and girls. Let’s keep the world’s eyes riveted on Tehran’s ruthlessness.”
Former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “We’ve seen in the street that there are people from all walks of life that are protesting, whether it’s the universities, the villages, the cities, different areas, the Kurds, people are coming together. This is a unified revolution and it’s been a long time in the making. You all know that because you have been working on this for a long time, for decades. And now is the time to stand with the Iranian people. Day 84 of the uprising. They are chanting, “Death to Khamenei, death to the oppressor,” whether it be the shah or the supreme leader.”
“Now is the time for victory for the people of Iran, and we know that there is an alternative because Mrs. Rajavi and the NCRI have a Ten Point Plan, a Ten Point Plan that envisions freedom, democracy, a non-nuclear Iran, a peaceful Iran that respects human rights. That is the Iranian people, that is what they deserve, and that is the Iran that we can work with as the United States of America. That is Iran, where values are respected, and people are respected.”
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ): “We are seeing extraordinary things happening with the Iranian people: courage, heroism, this incredible willingness to do what is all so natural, to put yourself and your family’s safety and security on the line for freedom. Of course, during times of great peril and a great challenge, you have unfortunately great martyrs. The people of Iran are fighting a cause that’s even bigger than themselves. They are fighting for the cause of humanity. They are fighting for the cause of freedom. They are fighting for the cause of democracy, and I stand with the people of Iran. This is one of those issues that I am proud to say it is not a partisan issue. Senators from both sides are coming together to discuss what can we do to support the Iranian people. That is the test of this country, where do we stand and what will we do? We must push the conversation on what can we do and what more can we do for the people of Iran… Because I was raised in the ideology of a man named Martin Luther King, who said so pointedly that we are all caught in an escapable network of mutuality, tied in a common garment of destiny. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… I will not remain silent. I will lend my voice in solidarity with the women and girls protesting in Iran. I will push our country to do more, and I believe that the end of this story is going to be a story that will inspire girls and women, and men all around the globe of what courageous people did to take back their country from an oppressive regime and to make the light of freedom and democracy shine even brighter amongst humanity.”
Senator John Boozman (R-AR): “I think you know most of us are firmly in your corner. My commitment is to help in any way that we can, certainly on the topic of nuclear weapons and human rights.”
Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA): “In solidarity, we stand with Iranian women and in outrage for the blatant human rights violation by the Iranian regime. What we’re seeing in Iran is beyond unacceptable… The regime has suppressed with waves of violence, arresting tens of thousands of people, protesters, and killing hundreds. Now in so doing, they are adding fuel to the fight for justice. The Iranian people are waking up to the power of their unified voice and they are saying clearly that there can be no morality when there’s a morality police. There can be no freedom when peaceful protests are met with violent suppression. So, to the women of Iran, I want to say loudly and clearly that we are moved by your courage and your strength. And to all Iranians calling for their fundamental rights to be respected, let me say loudly and clearly that the United States stands with you. We are calling for an immediate end to the barbaric detention of peaceful protesters, an immediate end to the blatant human rights violations and an immediate end to the persecution of Iranian women. And until then, we will continue to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its actions. In America, the voices of the Iranian people crying out for freedom will always be heard and respected.”
Ambassador Marc Ginsberg: “This is an irreversible uprising that has spread across every city and province. And mark my words, ladies and gentlemen, Ayatollah cannot turn the clock back this time and put a lid on it. They may be able to try to murder their way to the silence of the protestors, but they cannot suffocate the fight for freedom.”
“For almost two decades, the MEK has had cells operating in Iran to help train these young women and young students on how in effect, to fight for freedom when the oppressors are determined to kill you. They have access to a network of resistance units that are being recognized around the world.”
“And with all due respect to my friends in the Biden administration, it’s about time. That they ended their own resistance by embracing the MEK and the NCRI for, in effect, providing the resources and support for the very cause that they claim they now embrace. So, so let me just close by saying that we, we, we just cannot be mere observers, but we must be active participants because the Iranian people deserve no less.”