I wish our government back home could see the speech that Madame Rajavi just gave so they would understand that it’s not the MEK that should have been on the terrorist list; it’s the Iranian mullahs who should have been on the terrorist list.
So, I’m here for two reasons. The first is the reason I’ve been here every year for five or six years, and that is that I think that if a government and a country wants to lead in a positive direction they have to have moral force on their side. And the only way the United States can have moral force on its side is that we keep our word. And there are approximately 2,400 Iranian dissidents in what amounts to a prison camp near the Baghdad airport because America did not keep its promises. If America wants to be great first, we should keep our promises.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say one little political thing: I want to thank Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state for removing the MEK from the terrorist list. Now that was going to happen because of the courts, but she did the right thing when confronted with the facts and she overcame the pro-Iranian rump in the State Department.
Secondly, I have not spoken out about how I feel about this treaty or this agreement that may or may not come up, and I am not going to give a final verdict today. But there are some observations I’d like to make about the negotiations. I am for negotiations, even with your enemies, because you have to talk to your enemies, and talking is better than war. But I am not for negotiations that give the mullahs $150 billion to spend spreading terrorism, not just to all the places that have been mentioned before, but, for example, blowing up the Jewish center in Argentina and killing innocent people.
They have spread terror all over the world, not just in the Middle East, and we should not enable terrorism. I guarantee you that the Revolutionary Guard will get their hands on a big piece of that $150 billion when sanctions end, and Americans will die as a result. So we should under no circumstances end the sanctions until we are satisfied that the mullahs are keeping their word, which they have never done in the past.
We are not going to spend $150 billion enabling terrorists if we don’t get them to give up their capacity, which means that any agreement must completely eliminate the possibility of the mullahs possessing the atomic bomb. And any agreement must allow full and complete and verifiable inspection in any facility contained in Iran. And if those conditions are not met, I cannot support an agreement. We must not have an agreement for an agreement’s sake. A bad agreement does not contribute to anybody’s legacy; it makes their legacy worse.
I am going to conclude the way I started. I think all Americans of every party are proud of our country and proud of the role that we have played in trying to increase human rights across the globe. We have not always been perfect, but we have always believed that it was part of our mission as a nation to improve human rights for all people, including those who are not American. I would have liked it if our government had raised the issue of human rights with the mullahs, the second-worst after the North Korean regime on the face of the Earth, in the way they treat and torture and murder their own people. And we did not say a word. I do not know how America sleeps with itself if we cannot stand up for everybody’s human rights. Human rights are not a matter of convenience. They must not be traded away to murderous regimes for any purpose.
• Mr. Dean is a doctor and former governor of Vermont who sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. The above is adapted and excerpted from remarks he delivered at the June 13 rally in Paris.
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