The Iranian people and the American people are good friends and should be good allies. People to people, we have no quarrel with the Iranian people.
The problem, unfortunately, is for many years there has been a government in Iran that denies to its citizens the basic freedoms that we in the United States know and love and take for granted: freedom of democracy, freedom of speaking your mind, freedom of free political system. None of those, unfortunately, exists today in Iran, and we know that the Iranian government unfortunately has been the leading supporter of terrorist organization throughout the world.
The Iranian people deserve better. Iran and the United States should be natural allies in the region, but instead this has not been the case since 1979.
So I want to congratulate all of you at this gathering who are fighting for freedom, for the people of Iran, who are fighting for freedom for the nation of Iran. And I want you to know you have the support of the United States of America, which fights for freedom wherever we can.
And I would like nothing better than to let the Iranian people decide what kind of government they want and who can serve in that government. This is not a matter of anyone trying to impose anything on the Iranian people. Quite the opposite. We want the Iranian people to have the freedom to do what they feel is best for them and not be repressed by a government that denies them of the basic freedoms and basic tenants of life.
• Mr. Engel is a House member representing New York and the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. These remarks were adapted from a videotaped message to the June 13 gathering in Paris.
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