I’m absolutely honored to be here with you today. I have never been with a group who has had such a singular and overwhelming focus as you do. I’m proud to be among you.
We assemble today as people who respect freedom and liberty, with one cause and one cause only, to free Iran. Since 1980, the mullahs have stated their strategic objective every single year: Spread the Islamic Revolution throughout the region. And to succeed at that, No. 1, drive the United States out of the region.
Iran is on the march in the region, encouraged and financed by the nuclear deal. Make no mistake about it. Iran is building a land bridge from Iran, through Iraq, through Syria, through Lebanon, to the Mediterranean. It is their No. 1 strategic objective.
That is why Iran moved so quickly into Syria to prop up their client, the Assad regime. The facts are these: The Iranian generals run the civil war for the Syrian regime. They direct the ground campaign, and they direct the use of Syrian air power and selected use of Russian air power in support of the ground campaign. They make up the largest forces on the ground. Their generals lead it on the ground. They have had some fairly significant casualties by the thousands, and they have had a number of generals killed, as well.
Just a few weeks ago, President Trump went to the Middle East and had a historic visit. He had 55 leaders from the entire region sitting in front of him in Riyadh, when he stood up and said the No. 1 strategic threat to you and to your people and to this region is Iran.
He said we must stand together in an alliance against this evil regime. That is historic. We have not had a president make a statement like that to leaders in the region since the Islamic Republic of Iran gained power in 1980, almost 38 years ago.
I’m hopeful and optimistic for two reasons. One is the resistance is growing, not only in size and scale, but in determination, dedication and conviction. And that is a credit to you and to all others who are a part of this movement. And second, the United States government has already declared the Quds Force a foreign terrorist organization. I think the Trump government will declare the IRGC a terrorist organization.
The United States government will no longer appease or accommodate Iran, but will confront Iran. The United States government will not permit Iran to have nuclear weapons with ballistic missiles, which are not only a threat to the region but a threat to world peace. The United States government knows Iran … is not capable of fundamental change. The United States government knows that Iran is evil to its core. The United States government, in my judgment, will support the people of Iran to change the regime. Free Iran. Free Iran.
• Retired U.S. Army General John “Jack” Keane is chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of War. This excerpt is from his remarks to the July 1 rally in Paris.
Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.