Today, we are reminded how difficult that road has been. Not simply for the tens of thousands of martyrs who have lost their lives in Tehran, but what might have been if the terrorist plots of Tehran had come to pass. First, to the people at Ashraf, who the New Year’s attempt at bombing would have taken your lives, Maryam Rajavi’s, my friend Rudy Giuliani’s, and a host of others, but for the leadership, the courage, and the skill of the Albanian government. A government and a people to which every Iranian, indeed, all free people, will always be grateful for the role they have played in these many years and continue to play.
But look at the history of these years. If not just the attack that would have happened on Ashraf, the attack in Paris would have killed many from my country, a former prime minister of Canada and foreign minister, a former foreign minister of France, members of the cabinet and parliament from Great Britain, members of the Bundestag, members of the government of Italy, and a host of other nations. In another time, in another place, an attempt on that magnitude, on that number of people, would be seen as an act of war.
My country has responded by putting the Quds Force on a terrorist list, and took decisive action against its leader, Soleimani. It is time that other nations consider their own positions. How can the governments of Western Europe not take similar actions knowing that an attempt was made on the lives of their highest ranking official and a peaceful democratic assembly in the heart of France? These embassies are no longer diplomatic outposts. They are outposts for organizing and covering terrorist activity.
It is extraordinary that the skill of the Austrian and German police and, of course, the Albanian police prevented the loss of so many lives. It is time to close the embassies, close the consulates, put the Quds Force on a terrorist list, and pursue legal proceedings against those who would lead it and take these lives.
Finally, a word to our friends in journalism. A free press is vital to the maintenance of our freedoms. There is a shadow of public relations firms, operatives, and companies, across the globe, disseminating false information.
Only yesterday, one of the most respected journalists in America, Jake Tapper of CNN, wrote a report, published a tweet, and later withdrew it after receiving false information from a regime operative. This is happening every day. The humiliation of Der Spiegel, one of the world’s great publications, citing information patently false, directly from Tehran, and having to have been ordered by a German court to remove it. And I’m embarrassed to tell you the same would have happened with the New York Times, but for the fact that our laws and constitution are different, and the courts cannot as readily undertake such action.
This Iranian regime will use any means to manipulate you and get false stories in print. It is happening again and again. Not simply to the embarrassment of Der Spiegel or the New York Times, their own humiliations are not the price. The price is that it prevents the proper international coalition of individuals, gathering of thoughts, building of momentum, pressure on the regime. In the end it means lives. It means lost time in the freedom of the Iranian people. Please exercise the highest standards and real caution.
Our ultimate obligation to all those who have died in these terrorist acts and may yet be victims in these final days or months of the regime before it falls is accountability. There will be. I know in Tehran many think that their acts, their criminal acts are beyond reproach. They can hide behind the Revolutionary Guards, and the long arm of justice will never find you. But Justice is coming.
The long arm of justice reaches far, and the memory is very, very long. And most of us will not rest in this life until it reaches you.
To the Albanian people and your government, God bless you. We will be grateful to you every day. To the law enforcement officials in Germany, Austria, Albania, and a host of other countries that have thwarted these terrorist acts, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To those of you who are administering the great governments and the extraordinary nations of Western Europe, think again about your position. Your history is too great, your culture too strong, your commitment to the law too profound to allow embassies that hide terrorists and take lives and subvert your free press be allowed to operate in these great capitals. Think again about your position.
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