Madame Rajavi and guests, if you permit just one very, very personal expression of gratitude. Less than two years ago, I suffered a very, very serious cardiac arrest. In the course of my recovery, I received probably hundreds of letters and good wishes and prayer groups and the like. And there’s not another group of people globally that sent me more cards of goodwill and of prayer and of support than those committed to your cause and your mission, the Iranian diaspora around the world. So, I thank you for that kindness and your love.
In recent history, the world has recognized and recorded the extraordinary leadership of women in trying and difficult and challenging times confronting their country, their region and their value system. Of course there have been many laudatory and richly deserved comments and expressions of gratitude and sincerity, affection for you, Madame Rajavi. When you refer to the MEK and the NCRI, you can say, “You can imprison a man or a woman,” and, yes, they’ve done that. And I met several yesterday who had been imprisoned and tortured. So you can imprison a man or a woman, but you can’t kill an idea. And we’ve listened today and will continue to listen to tributes to your courage, to your sacrifice, to your relentless pursuit of justice and liberty and freedom in your home. A country with a culture, a history, rich in tradition and rich in contributions to the rest of the world. And you will at the end prevail — you now fight for all those who cherish freedom and liberty and justice globally.
There are so many men and women whom you’ve never met, probably millions around the world, who look to you and your pursuit of freedom and justice. Their prayers are now with you, as your prayers were with me and with so many others, that you succeed. Because at the end of the day, as my friend and so many people have referred to our friend Senator McCain, sometimes in your life you have the opportunity to pursue and embrace causes bigger than yourself. Some 120,000 men and women have died seeking and promoting and embracing a cause bigger than themselves. There will be an open, pluralistic, non-nuclear, democratic Iran, and you — you, your courage, your sacrifice — will be responsible for future generations to enjoy the liberty and freedoms. Godspeed on your journey. We will be with you all the way to the streets of Tehran.