I can’t tell you how moving it was for me personally to see the people of Ashraf free, safe and prosperous. A commitment was made in 2004, and we were finally able to deliver on it, with the support of the Albanian government and the courage and perseverance of a lot of people.
Back to Iran. From the moment that I went in there, it was clear to me that Iran’s objective was to stop the Iraqi people from building a free, democratic society that respected the rights of all Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups.
And I watched them as they bought political support by contributing to Iraqi politicians and political organizations. I watched as they built public support by providing economic aid to communities in the southern part of the country. And I watched as they actively trained Shia militias and fomented sectarian violence that swept Iraq from 2006 to 2007.
There could be no doubt that Iran was the principal accelerant of that sectarian violence and that they are directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of coalition forces and thousands of Iraqis. So my experience tells me that they’re not done. That this regime will continue to export terror and foment sectarian violence to accomplish their political objectives around Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen and in Lebanon. And countries that use terror to achieve their political objectives are threats, not only to their internal populations but to the international community at large.
And today no government that supports and exports terror can become a productive player in our world. Change must come to Iran.
• Retired U.S. Army Gen. George Casey is a former chief of staff of the U.S. Army. This excerpt is from his remarks to the July 1 rally in Paris.
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