Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I have three questions. One, will there be change in Iran? [Crowd: Yes!] Number two, is there a democratic alternative opposition? [Crowd: Yes!] Number three, is the current Iranian regime reasonable and moderate? [Crowd: No!] Very good.

I want to just say to you, I’ve been coming here for five years. The rallies get bigger. Not only are there Iranians here, but there are Asians, Africans, Latin Americans. You know why? Because everybody has joined you to seek change in Iran. And I’m very proud to be with a group of important leaders — men and women, mayors, governors, congressmen, senators, business leaders, distinguished academics, lawyers — representing America.

This movement is growing, and I want to also say to you in answer to the question about the Iranian regime being moderate, this regime has tortured and repressed its people for too long a time. If there’s going to be change in Iran, here’s what the regime might think about doing. First, they should stop helping Hezbollah. It should stop helping Hamas. It should stop helping the regime in Syria. It should stop harassing and attacking Israel. It should free political prisoners. It should free the American Marine. It should free the American journalist and all political prisoners. That would be a start.

I want to conclude with this. Do you know where the democratic alternative is? It is right here. It is you. It is democracy. It is the people of Iran that you represent. So I’m proud to be with my colleagues. I’m proud to be with you with this huge crowd. This crowd, the security was so big they almost didn’t let me in. And I say that because it’s important to recognize a movement that is growing — a movement that is an alternative.

So let us pray, and let us hope, and let us work together to continue the struggle to bring democracy and human rights to the great civilization that you represent. Not the current regime, the great civilization of Iran.

• Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, is a former governor and congressman from New Mexico, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former U.S. energy secretary. The above was adapted and excerpted from his speech at the June 13 rally in Paris.

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