Excerpts from remarks by Members of Congress
Rep. Kevin McCarty (R-CA), House Republican Leader
The oppressive regime in Tehran and its new president have a history of suppressing freedom of speech, supporting terrorism, and seeking nuclear weapons. We hope that America — along with you and our allies — will see a democratic Iran that protects free speech and the rights of all people. It is also our hope that the dark days of fear under the Supreme Leader will subside, as Iran blossoms into a responsible democratic nation. Imagine it: a free Iran.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), House Democratic Caucus Chair
I want to thank you for extending the invitation for me to participate in this conference where we are discussing a free, secular, and non-nuclear Iran. The Iranian government brutalizes its citizens and exports terrorism throughout the world.
And so I commend you on your courage, on your strength, and on your leadership in helping to bring about a free, a secular, and a non-nuclear Iran and to give the Iranian people the types of freedoms and liberties that they deserve. I stand with you. I know that Members of Congress on both sides of the ideological spectrum, Democrats and Republicans, and both sides of the Capitol, the House and the Senate, stand with you. And that the Biden administration also understands the importance of bringing about a free, a secular, and a non-nuclear Iran.
We want to unleash the brilliance and the talents and the abilities of the Iranian people that are being suppressed by a brutal regime and lift up freedom and liberty for all. God bless you. God bless your efforts. And, of course, God bless the United States of America.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Senior Member and lead Democrat sponsor of the House Resolution 118
The world should not forget the mass murders carried by the Iranian regime in 1988. It was in July of that year that Ayatollah Khomeini issued the bloody order to annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately. Today, we know that as many as 30,000 political prisoners had their lives taken from them. They lost their lives because they supported the dream of a free Iran.
In February 2021, Congressman McClintock and I led a letter addressed to President Biden, urging him to work with our allies, including particularly our partners in Albania and other Balkan countries where Iran has expanded its presence, to hold the regime accountable for breaching its diplomatic privileges, and to call on nations to work to prevent the malign activities of the Iranian regime’s diplomatic missions. But, there is some hope that the regime will soon be on its last legs. We saw how the Iranian people boycotted the recent elections. They were not fooled by the desperate attempt to distract them from the regime’s corruption. There are so many around the world who stand in solidarity with the Iranian people and who are working for a new chapter in that great nation’s history.
I want also to take this opportunity to recognize the inspiring work of Madame Maryam Rajavi. She has shown her unwavering support for democracy, for women’s rights, and minority rights in Iran. All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Judiciary Committee and sponsor of the House Resolution 118
I am pleased to announce today that 249 members of the United States House of Representatives a solid majority of the entire House that’s made up of Republicans and Democrats — have co-sponsored House Resolution 118. We are expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran and condemning the violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian Government.
I have written to President Biden to call attention to this resolution and urge his Administration that the United States must hold Iran’s corrupt regime accountable for its crimes against its people and its continued sponsorship of global terrorism.
This House resolution comes ahead of the recent election of Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, a criminal who has committed egregious human rights violations against political opponents, journalists, and anyone else who dares to oppose him. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Raisi was part of the four-member “death commission” responsible for the 1988 massacre where as many as 30,000 political prisoners were murdered, most of whom were involved with the Iranian opposition movement. It is becoming increasingly evident that Iran’s rulers are beginning to fear this resistance.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Homeland Security Subcommittee on Crime Chair and Judiciary Committee Senior Member
This conference is so important that in the midst of my duties here in the United States Congress in the 18th congressional district, I thought it was so very important to salute the 2021 free Iran conference because we want to free Iran. And we want the democracy that is necessary to empower the women, children, youth, and families to say enough is enough.
We demand democracy. Thank you to Maryam Rajavi, who has stood with her 10-point plan to lay out the role that Iran should be playing in protecting Iranian citizens. Republicans and Democrats have stood on the record of knowing what an important message you sister Rajavi have, thank you for leading, thank you for being unafraid. Thank you for bringing us together.
We are the United States of America standing with those who believe in democracy in Iran. It is so important again, to reemphasize on it, I am to be here at the 2021 conference. I am sorry, I can’t be with you. But I am here in spirit. And I am here to be able to commemorate, celebrate, salute, and honor that democracy be spread around the world, that free people are able to speak about freedom, that you’re not denied. If you are a dissident, if you want change, Iran should understand that the change is nonviolently coming. It is coming because the young people are willing to stand up for democracy.
Thank you, Madam Maryam Rajavi, for your leadership and all that you do as a leader of the free people of Iran. God bless you, and a free Iran and God bless the United States of America.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Rights and Civil Liberties Chair
As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus,
I will work with my colleagues and the Biden-Harris administration to continue our progress on Iranian human rights. We cannot let perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Iran go unpunished.
I commend and support Mrs. Rajavi’s works in fighting for a free Iran and paving the way to support the people of Iran and their democratic aspirations. I look forward to continuing working with all of you on creating a free and open Iran.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism Ranking Member
I am deeply concerned about the Iranian regime’s malign activities and murderous agenda. Year after year, the Iranian regime is a serial perpetrator of gross human rights abuses and remains the number one state-sponsor of international terrorism.
It is no longer a secret that they use terrorism as a leverage in their international dealings and have been using diplomats to plan terrorist activities. The indiscriminate killing of innocent people who are demanding their basic rights inside Iran speaks to not only the brutality, but also the weakness of the regime.
I join you and my colleagues in United States Congress in reminding the world that Iranian people want a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic. Thank you, Madam Rajavi, for your leadership, and thank you for your dedication to establish a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Republic of Iran.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Ways and Means Committee
For years, I’ve been proud to stand with you in the fight for human rights and democracy in Iran, and each year this conference sends a powerful statement to Iran’s leaders that their repression and violence are unacceptable.
They tried to bomb the 2018 Free Iran gathering. Fortunately, the would-be terrorist was caught and convicted. But these repressive and brutal responses show why we must stand up to Iran’s leaders, and that is why I was so proud to be a co-sponsor of House Resolution 118. That message is especially important now as one of Iran’s most brutal killers, Ebrahim Raisi, was just elected president in an election that was neither fair nor free. Instead of trusting the Iranian people to choose their own leaders, Iran’s guardian council manipulated the election to clear the way for the man responsible for mass murders in 1988. Thousands died by his orders and, yet instead of being held accountable, Raisi has been put in a position of greater power over others.
Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair and Energy and Commerce Committee
It is a true honor to be with you for this year’s Free Iran Conference. Standing up for the human rights of the people of Iran is not only necessary, but vital to helping ensure that the Iranian people know that America and all peace-loving people stand with them in their pursuit liberty, democracy, and a peaceful Iran.
I am a strong supporter of H. Res. 118, which underlines a plan to promote a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran. The Iranian people have spoken, and the United States has heard you and stands with you in solidarity. Know that we will continue supporting you as you pursue your basic rights, freedom, and democracy. I stand with you, the United States Congress stands with you, and the American people stand with you.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Ways and Means Committee and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East
I am so pleased to address your conference this year, and I want to thank all of you for being here today, especially in the light of the recent election in Iran, an election that was anything but free and fair. Your activism and engagement is critical for holding Iran and countries across the world accountable not only to their citizens, but also to human rights.
The Middle East and the entire world will benefit from a democratic Republic of Iran that respects freedom we all hold so near and dear. We must continue doing everything we can to speak out against Iran’s human rights abuses and hold the regime to account. This also includes preventing Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Rights and Civil Liberties Ranking Member
The new president is a man who has been a part of brutal thuggery that takes place not only in Iran, but around the world.
H. Res. 118 is just one example of our fight to make sure that the world knows, as we isolate Iran for what they are, that they are brutal dictators who will kill their own people for the sake of their own power. Let’s never forget the struggle that takes place and stand behind our Iranian friends who will stand against this terrible regime in Tehran.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Republican Alliance in the House of Representatives Chair and Financial Services Committee
Thank you for inviting me to join your summit today. I am proud to stand with you in your mission for a free and democratic Iran.
We come together today with shared goals: an end to repression, an end to persecution, and an end to terror. As all of you know, so-called “President” Ebrahim Raisi is not the true choice of the Iranian people far from it nor will he bring them a better future. Together, we can look forward to the day when all Iranians will be able to live without fear.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), Foreign Affairs Committee
I am happy to join you today at this year’s “Free Iran Conference”, to once again express my support for a free and democratic Iran. Dear Madam President, I stand with all of you for a Free Iran.
I join you today to call for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran. The United States Congress has shown on many occasions that it stands with the Iranian people, and I am proud to be one of the Members of Congress who have supported and will continue to support meaningful change in Iran. A democratic Iran is the key to prosperity for Iranians and others in the region.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), Armed Services Subcommittee on the Special Intelligence and Operations
I am honored to be here with you today in this global forum to declare my support for democracy and human rights in Iran and express my solidarity with the Iranian people.
As stated in the House Resolution 118, tens of thousands of people gathered in Paris at the Free Iran gathering to show support for the opposition leader Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan for the future of Iran, which calls for the universal right to vote, free elections, a market economy, advocates gender, religious, and ethnic equality, a foreign policy based on peaceful coexistence, and a non-nuclear Iran.
The recent sham election is another indication of the regime’s unabated disregard for the rule of law and democratic process. I believe U.S. policy towards Iran must be based on our commitment to human, women’s, religious, and minority rights, and our unwavering support for the establishment of a democratic Republic in Iran.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact Ranking Member
To all those gathered at the free, secular, non-nuclear and republican Iran conference, I thank you for coming together to advocate for a free Iran. What happened in this election was very disturbing to not only those who want a free Iran, but to those all around the world who care about liberty and human rights.
The election of Raisi - somebody who has United States sanctions against him, someone who’s responsible for the death of thousands of Iranians who were just advocating for their own rights and freedom - is very disturbing.
As a member of Foreign Affairs Committee, I have been at the forefront of co-sponsoring legislation 118 and resolutions that support a free Iran.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber
As a co-sponsor of House Resolution 118, which expresses support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear Republic of Iran and condemns violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian government, it is an honor to speak with you today.
We must also call for an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran. In 1988 the Iranian regime slaughtered over 30,000 prisoners. Three-member death commissions were established across the country to facilitate the assassination of political prisoners that refuse to abandon their beliefs. I am proud to join you in support of a democratic Iran enjoying basic human rights and as a co-sponsor of House Resolution 118.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Energy and Commerce Committee
It is a pleasure to speak with you today as part of your Free Iran Global Summit 2021. I am honored to be here with you today in this virtual global forum to declare my support for democracy and human rights In Iran and express my solidarity with the Iranian people.
Iran has been a destabilizing and antagonizing force in the Middle East for a long time. However, let me be clear the regime in Iran is not our friend, and indeed, poses one of the biggest threats to our national security than any other nation. The recent sham elections are another indication of the regime’s unabated disregard for the rule of law and democratic process. Iran’s election is a selection. Allowing a mass murderer of thousands of political prisoners and other loyalists as the preferred candidates for the presidency by the supreme leader once again shows his desire to remain in power at any cost.
Rep. French Hill (R-AR), Financial Services Subcommittee of National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy
I am honored to participate in this year’s summit in support of a democratic and free Iran. For the past four decades, the people of Iran have lived under the brutal dictatorship of the Ayatollahs in Tehran. The Iranian people are rightfully calling for accountability. The Iranian people want change and have been advocating for freedom and democracy. America stands for freedom, and I stand with the people of Iran as they peacefully protest in their streets demanding the basic freedoms.
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN), Energy and Commerce Committee
Thank you all for inviting me to address this important event today. I’m honored to join my colleagues in Congress and folks around the world in expressing my support for a democratic and secular Iran. In co-sponsoring resolution 118, I stand alongside members of both parties in condemning the human rights abuses of the Iranian regime, including their violent actions to suppress a peaceful democratic protest movement in 2019, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,500 innocent Iranians. Freedom and democracy in Iran are achievable and I commend you for your steadfast struggle for freedom.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Appropriations Committee
To all of you that continue to fight for the freedom of Iran, please know that there are so many of us that are with you. Iran will be free because of your efforts. Iran will be free because the Iranian people are demanding freedom. This terrorist plague - that has hurt and destroyed so much and so many for such a long time - will forever be in the heap of trash. We are with you, and victory and freedom will reach Iran soon.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Appropriations Committee
We stand united in the cause of a free Iran, in the cause of the elimination of that terrorist regime that has oppressed and repressed the Iranian people for decades. We will remember this as one of the darkest moments not only in the history of Iran, but in the history of this planet.