- - Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This is the day that we celebrate and reaffirm our common resolve. It is the annual celebration of the end of the horror that kept so many of your brothers and sisters in captivity in Camps Ashraf and Liberty…. I’m proud that, through many United Nations efforts, I was part of that long-lasting effort to let justice prevail. And I thank Albania for setting an example that should make many other European countries blush.

I salute the movement that never gave up, never surrendered, and continues to advocate the cause of democratic change….

Together with so many others from so many national and political backgrounds, I join you in reaffirming our common hope and determination that fanaticism and expansionism will end, that ultimately oppression implodes by its own contradictions, that free minds will never cease to demand the right to free speech, and that all Iranian citizens will enjoy a good life as they’re longing for peace instead of war. Yes, I join you in the common hope and determination that change in Iran is within reach.

Your cause is not only the cause for the future of Iran and for the future of free Iranian citizens. Your cause responds to a global concern about rivalry for regional and religious dominance, about destruction of peaceful societies, about export of terror, and most of all, about denying countless young people — men and women — a decent life in peace and prosperity. Your cause resonates far beyond the borders of your land as a goal for justice, democracy, and respect for human rights, as a universal call. It’s part of a universal drive to have the voice of citizens prevail over the guns of the military and all those that seek to hide behind them.

How impressive, this platform of hope. History tells us it can take a long time to make justice happen. History has also demonstrated time and again that a principle of justice is stronger, more unbreakable, indeed, than the practice of repression that can be broken. It only takes the will of the determined people who won’t give up, won’t surrender. And this is the will that I see in your aspiration for change in this gathering of peaceful protests. Our common wish is that Iran will once again be a beacon of trust, a haven of stability and coexistence, and an inspiration to the world.

Ad Melkert is a former Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq and former leader of the Dutch Labour Party.

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