In a U.S. Senate virtual conference hosted by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) on March 16, a bipartisan group of Senators and prominent former officials addressed Iran protests, the implications of Tehran’s backing of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the nuclear talks.
As the conference keynote speaker, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), highlighted the mullahs’ strategy for survival has relied on the three elements of repression, nuclear bomb-making, and terrorism.
“At the beginning of spring and the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, allow me first to pray for peace and security in the world and freedom and democracy in Iran,” Mrs. Rajavi began her remarks. “This conference comes as the war in Ukraine and the plight of its people have shocked the world. Iran’s ruling mullahs have openly supported the invasion of Ukraine and the killing of innocent civilians. In contrast, the Iranian Resistance and the people of Iran have sided with the people of Ukraine.”
Mrs. Rajavi pointed out the regime’s dire economic conditions, which have fueled public anger among different walks of life in Iran. “Today, the mullahs’ regime is at its weakest point. Iran’s economy is in a recession. Last year, there was one major anti-regime uprising every four months,” she said.
“Iranian teachers and workers held continuous nationwide protests and strikes. The Iranian people’s desire for fundamental change is the cause of these protests,” Mrs. Rajavi added.
Expressing her appreciation to the speakers and supporters of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy, which also guarantees global peace and security,” Mrs. Rajavi said. “I have no doubt that as it has been proven during the last four decades, the Iranian people shall overcome.”
At the event, several Senators declared their support for the Iranian people’s cause for a free, democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.
“While the world has turned its attention to Ukraine, we cannot lose sight of the threat of the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime, which remains one of the few countries to vocally back Russia’s completely unprovoked and devastating invasion of Ukraine,” said Senator Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“The parallels of the decades-long struggle of the people of Iran and the recent attacks on the sovereign and democratic people of Ukraine are inescapable,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the former Governor of New Hampshire.
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as former U.S. Sen Kelly Ayotte (D-NH) announced their support of the struggle of the Iranian people and their organized resistance for a democratic, secular, non-nuclear republic of Iran.
“We need to collapse the Iranian regime,” said Sen. Cruz. “I look forward to the day of a democratic Iran,” Sen. Booker added.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) reminded Iranian regime president Ebrahim Raisi’s involvement in the mass killing of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), in 1988.
“The new president who was handpicked by the Supreme Leader is notorious for his key role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, based on a religious decree issued by the Supreme Leader against the main Iranian opposition, the MEK,” Sen. Tillis said.
A number of Ukrainian MPs, who resisted Russia’s war of occupation, joined the conference and declared their support of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.
“There is no agreeing with a tyrant. You fight, you fight to protect your homeland, your people, your country,” said Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and the leader of the Political party Golos. “Thank you so much for your remarks today. Your message is so powerful, and we stand with you in your fight for freedom.”
Former senior U.S. officials such as former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2000 election, and U.S. Marine Corps four-star Gen. James L. Jones, the former National Security Advisor of the United States, joined the conference as well.
“The fact is that there are remarkable similarities in Russia’s treatment of Ukrainians and the Iran regime’s treatment of its own people,” said former Sen. Lieberman. “Human rights extend to all people. We stand with Ukraine and Iran in the fight for freedom.”
“What’s going on in Ukraine is reminiscent of what the MEK has been fighting for in Iran,” said Gen. Jones.