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Gen. James Jones: Iran Protests are Latest Manifestation in Battle for Democracy

general james jones senate briefing 16032023

“The recent protests that erupted in September of 2022, so almost seven months ago, are the latest visible manifestation of over 40 years of organized resistance against the regime,” said General James Jones, the former National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama, during a Senate briefing on March 16 to discuss US policy on Iran, led by senior senators and featuring Maryam Rajavi as keynote speaker. The focus of the meeting was supporting Iranians’ fighting for democracy, non-nuclear policies, and secularism. At the meeting, renowned US politicians praised Mrs. Rajavi’s leadership and the bravery of the MEK Resistance Units while supporting the six-month-long uprising in Iran.

The full text of General Jones’s speech follows:

 

Thank you so much, distinguished members, of Congress, ambassadors, members of the Iranian American communities, and to my great friends here around table number three, thank you for being here. Thank you for your consistent support of this worthy cause that we care so deeply about. I’m very proud that this is my 13th year associating with all of you, and I will be here as long as it takes. Thank you.

So it is my great pleasure to be standing before you today on the eve of the Iranian New Year. As we welcome the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature, let us also hope and work tirelessly toward the dawn of a new era for Iran and its citizens. One of freedom, democracy, and secularism. It’s my sincere wish that by the time we celebrate the next Nowruz, we’ll be doing so in a free and democratic Iranian republic where all citizens can live with dignity and equality and where the Iranian people can flourish in peace and prosperity. Let us seize this moment and work together towards a brighter future for the people of Iran to achieve the future for which they have fought for more than a century.

On this auspicious occasion, I would also like to take a moment to recognize the leadership of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which has been around since 1981. Her tireless work and advocacy for a democratic Iran have been an inspiration to all of us, and we are deeply grateful for her unwavering commitment to the Iranian people. Her ten-point plan for a democratic Iran is a testament to her vision and her leadership. And I was delighted to know that it has been endorsed by some 224 members of the House of Representatives and both political parties in the new 118th Congress.

I would also like to extend my appreciation, our collective appreciation, to the government of Albania for welcoming the people of Camp Ashraf one and two into Albania. I have visited there several times, and what you have achieved in Albania is truly remarkable. Ladies and gentlemen, today, the people of Iran are suffering under the yoke of a corrupt and brutal regime. High unemployment, runaway inflation, widespread poverty, stagnant production, growing bankruptcies, water and electricity shortages, and even starvation have become everyday realities for many Iranians. In this critical moment, it’s important that the world stands with the Iranian people and support the organized resistance and opposition groups that have played a vital role in countering the regime’s repressive actions.

General James Jones meets Mrs. Rajavi, visits Ashraf 3

The recent protests that erupted in September of 2022, so almost seven months ago, are the latest visible manifestation of over 40 years of organized resistance against the regime. The role of women in the leadership ranks of the resistance and in fighting back against the clerics is clearly evident on the streets of Iran. The Iranian people deserve a government that upholds democratic norms, respects the rule of law, and prioritizes the needs, dreams, the aspirations of its people above repression at home and terrorism abroad. Despite the regime’s brutal crackdown, now into its seventh month, the resistance units inside Iran are keeping the flames of resistance and uprising burning brightly, risking their lives, risking their safety in the face of overwhelming odds. And at Ashraf 3, where, as I mentioned, I have visited several times during the last year, we find the courageous freedom fighters who have endured so much in their fight for a free and democratic Iran.

The museum there, chronicling the crimes of the regime and those of the mullahs, serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by so many in the name of freedom. Let us stand with the Iranian people and support their struggle for a brighter future.

Let me also be clear on another point. This cause is not simply about toppling the current oppressive regime ruling Iran. It is a struggle against all forms of dictatorship, including former rulers. As the brave protesters of Iran protest every day on the streets of Iran, we are reminded that the Iranian people yearn for a democratic and secular republic. It’s interesting to note that on the streets of the cities in Iran, the Iranian people seem to gravitate towards the American people with unwavering support and unwavering quests for the same kind of freedoms we enjoy and take for granted every day.

The vision of a free Iran is enshrined in Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan, which is truly Jeffersonian in its principles and in its aspirations. The plan is a beacon of hope for a better future for the Iranian people. It calls for the separation of religion and state, the protection of human rights, and the establishment of a fair and independent judiciary, all critical components of a democratic and just society. It is a detailed plan for the protection of the rights of nationalities and ethnicities.

It is based on the separation of religion and state and fully protects the rights of women, including their role in leadership positions. By endorsing this plan, we commit ourselves to the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran, and we stand with the Iranian people in their quest for a brighter future. Our nation is inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, and I quote, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Unquote, the Iranian people have shed enough blood in their quest for freedom, and it is time for us to stand with them in their fight against the brutal oppression of the IRGC and the Basij. It is our responsibility collectively to recognize the Iranian people’s right to self-defense with whatever means at their disposal, and we must do what is necessary so that they can attain a future where they can live in peace and prosperity, and freedom.

A free, democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic in Iran is not only the aspiration of the Iranian people but a beacon of hope for the entire Middle East. It represents a fundamental shift away from the violence, extremism, sectarianism, and terrorism that have plagued the region, particularly since the Ayatollah took power in Iran. Imagine a future where the Iranian people are free to live in peace and prosperity, and dignity and where the country’s vast resources are channeled toward development, innovation, and towards progress. A future where democratic values are upheld, human rights are respected, and the rule of law is paramount. This future is not only possible but necessary, and all of us should work tirelessly toward making it a reality.

Together we can build a world where justice and freedom, and equality reign supreme and where the Iranian people are finally able to realize their full potential. Let us ease this moment to work towards a better tomorrow for all. And lastly, I would close with a quote from Mrs. Rajavi, who once said the only criterion for legitimacy is the ballot box. Thank you very much.

General James Jones' speech at OIAC Senate Luncheon- March 16, 2023