The willingness of so many people to come from so many places is a major factor in the growing support that you see worldwide for freedom in Iran. And your presence here, each one of you, helps communicate and build that support. So let me start by saying thank you.
Let me also remind you how much the last two years have changed things. Two years ago, we had an American administration committed to weakness, to actually shipping cash to the dictatorship, to easing up on the sanctions, and to deluding itself about what the dictatorship would do. Today, you have an administration which understands reality, which is determined to stop the dictatorship, which is increasing the sanctions and which I predict will every single month get tougher and tougher because, in the end, the only way to safety in the region is to replace the dictatorship with democracy, and that has to be our goal.
We need to encourage the American government to tighten the sanctions even further. Our goal is very simple. It’s not to start negotiating. Our goal is to have a free democratic Iran that respects the rights of every individual.
Your slogan this year — Free Iran 2018 — is exactly the right slogan. Once these things start to break — as Mayor Giuliani said a while ago about the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union looked unbelievably powerful, and then one day it disappeared. Well, the fact is that the Khamenei regime is much weaker than the Soviet Union ever was. The corruption at the top weakens the entire system. The rivalries in the government weaken the entire system. Their inability to provide prosperity, their inability to provide a decent way of life, their inability to even be honest — all of these are weakening.
And the work each of you is doing — I encourage you, not just the folks who’ve done a great job and it is always amazing to come here and see just the scale of production and to listen to Mrs. Rajavi’s speech and realize how much thought she has put into preparing for a description of where we need to go….
If you go back and look once again at the remarkable speech that Mrs. Rajavi gave, and you think about the years that she and all of her compatriots have put in, the risks they’ve run, the tragic, personal losses they have suffered, freedom will come. It has been paid for by the blood of patriots. It has been paid for by the sweat of patriots. It has been paid for by those willing to stand up to the dictatorship. You are a key part of that.
I want you to know that all the Americans who were up here a few minutes ago are committed to communicating in our country that there is a movement, there is an opportunity for freedom, for democracy, for equal rights, and that movement is meeting right here today and it is vastly larger than any other movement trying to help Iran. And I believe this meeting, combined with what’s happening inside Iran, combined with the toughness of the Trump administration, gives us a genuine opportunity to really move much more dramatically, and to move in the right direction.
Let me just say in closing, I’m going to be an optimist. I look forward to the day that this meeting can be in Tehran, in a free country.
• Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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