- - Monday, September 13, 2021

It is a pleasure and an honor to be here with you.

One conflict is the most important to understand to restore Iran to its rightful place in history. The central fight is the one in the streets, in the mosques, and in the minds of Iranians it is the divide between the people and the organized opposition seeking freedom and democracy on the one side, and the entirety of the regime on the other.

The brutal regime is headed by Khamenei, Raisi, and the IRGC. It is theocratic. It is craven and kleptocratic. Its leaders will kill their own by the thousands and then choose those who committed these massive atrocities to now lead their terror organization and their regime. Its leaders can shoot down a civilian airliner killing hundreds of civilians and think nothing of denying responsibility.

The regime is at its weakest point in decades. And the resistance forces inside of Iran, these noble Iranian patriots, are as strong as they have ever been and provide optimism to all who support them.

The 2021 presidential election is vastly different from those before it, primarily because it took place when the theocratic regime is at its most precarious state since 1979, and its prospects of survival are openly questioned by regime insiders and challenged by a restive, freedom-loving nation. Very few people actually voted FOR Raisi.

This was a boycott. Turnout was the lowest since 1979, marking a total rejection of the regime. This election was heavily impacted by a series of major social upheavals, including the 2017, 2018, and 2019 uprisings, whose main slogan was:

“Hardliners, reformers, the game is over now,” and “Death to the dictator.” This shakes the very foundations of the regime in its entirety. These uprisings demonstrated the Iranians pin no hope on elections as a conduit for substantive change.

They see the corrupt ruling theocracy as their true enemy and the first and foremost cause of the economic crises. So, what is ahead? What is the path forward? Like I said, the regime is at its weakest point in its now 40 years of existence.

As for this Raisi fellow, he is not the President of the people of Iran. His mission is clear: inflict pain, frighten, continue to loot, and to plunder. This calls for a clear response — the United States should take the lead to hold him accountable for crimes against humanity. Any dealings with Raisi would be tantamount to dealing with a mass murderer. This is not only immoral, but also counterproductive. We should make clear to our allies in Europe and Asia as well to make sure that they hold him accountable, and that if they deal with this man who sent thousands of his countrymen to execution in a massacre in 1988, the United States would hold them accountable as well.

Actions supporting the Iranian people must begin by holding Ebrahim Raisi accountable for his crimes against humanity back in 1988. Some of you have loved one and friends currently imprisoned in Evin and elsewhere, and, some, who have had loved ones disappeared or worse. We will never forget any of them and will pray for all of them.

As was the case with the Trump administration, human rights and counter terrorism must be at the very center of our Iran policy. We cannot shower the Ayatollah with money and economic benefits in the hopes that he won’t use it to inflict terror. This thinking is foolish, dangerous, and backwards. I pray that the United States does not increase the resources he has at his disposal to empower the theocracy. The world has learned much about the theocracy in Iran these past few years. It’s not that we didn’t know it before, but we were afraid to confront it squarely. We must continue to support the Iranian people as they fight for a freer and more democratic Iran in any way that we can. It is work that your organization is actively engaged in keep up the fight. In the end, the Iranian people will have a secular, democratic, non-nuclear Republic.

I pray that this day will come soon and, with the support of Iranians living all around the world and those who resist from within, that day will come sooner. I am committed to this cause; I know you all are too. May your mission be blessed and protected. May the Iranian people be blessed. It is a hopeful time and a time to redouble our efforts

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