“This is, in fact, a revolution in the making. It is organized, and it’s powerful. It’s bigger than any one of us – three months of powerful, unyielding protests. Uprisings don’t happen randomly. These protests are the result of 40 years of organized opposition to Iran,” Mike Pompeo, the former United States Secretary of State, underlined in his remarks addressing a bi-partisan conference hosted by the Iranian American Organization (OIAC) on Saturday, December 17. The conference and its attendees supported the Iranian people’s democratic revolution and the role of the organized Resistance movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Below is an excerpt of Secretary Pompeo’s speech
I want to begin by recognizing President-Elect Maryam Rajavi. Under her leadership, the National Council of Resistance of Iran is laying the groundwork for a free, sovereign, and democratic republic in Iran.
For months, we’ve watched uprisings for liberty happen all across Iran. Freedom is absolutely on the march. And all of us need to come together and speak with a single voice that the Iranian people deserve their basic freedom.
None of us should make any mistake. And the world cannot ignore what is happening today. Amazing bravery. Iranians, we all knew they were there, many of them women, have made ignoring it impossible. I know everyone in this room is following the World Cup and saw how the ayatollah and his lackeys threatened the Iranian World Cup team’s families if the players did so much as even modestly support the protesters.
That’s right. Even for a football game, soccer, or whatever, you all want to call it, and the regime could not bear to have its authority undermined or challenged anyway. That shows real weakness. In doing so, the regime betrayed its own insecurity. I start with that because an interesting thing happened after the United States won that soccer game.
Celebrations began all across the country in Iran. And it wasn’t because they were rooting against their own players or for America. They were cheering because their teams divided and embarrassed the regime.
They knew what many of us, many of us, those of us are here today, we’ve known for many years, and that the rest of the world is finally seeing. They’re waking up to the fact that the regime does not represent the people of Iran. The destiny, the very destiny that the ayatollah and his team covet. It’s not destiny for the Iranian people. It’s not the one that they desire.
I get asked from time to time what I’m proud of, which I worked on during my four years in service in the executive branch. One of the things I always mention is that I was on the right side of this fight for over a decade in my own public life.
As far back as 2010, I spoke of the Iranian people and their history, their kindness, their respect for reason, knowledge, and human life. Iranians want to prosper in faith and culture and allow their families to thrive.
Regime leaders have killed their own by the thousands. The butchers, the very butchers who have committed the greatest atrocities. Men like Raisi find themselves first in line for leadership roles because they are willing to kill thousands more. And they have demonstrated that its leaders can shoot down a civilian airliner, killing hundreds of civilians, and think nothing of denying it to the world.
There can be no hope. There can be no hope of moderating or cooperating with a regime led by such men.
.@mikepompeo: Three months of powerful unyielding protests and uprisings don't happen randomly. They're not the product of foreign meddling. These protests are the result of 40 years of organized opposition. #IranRevoIution https://t.co/df0XECwi2e
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) December 17, 2022
We should know that one of the great fights inside the United States government is the absence of understanding it. That is very conceit. It is constantly pushed by the regime and bought lock, stock, and barrel in too many of the salons of Brussels, Paris, Bond, and in this town, Washington DC. As well. In the Trump administration, we knew that the difference between Zarif and Rouhani and the ayatollah was insignificant.
We rejected this idea. In the Trump administration, it mattered. It mattered because the Iranian people were watching and watching and learning about our understanding of the regime itself. Did we share their view of the need for a deep change inside the country? And we proved we proved that appeasement of Tehran was not necessary for achieving peace throughout the region.
We did not accept the premise that the regime put forward that it was unchangeable. We formed alliances to achieve those ends both in the region and around the world. Indeed, this effort was purposeful because our approach began by making clear that the Iranian people must be supported in every way.
The weakness of the regime preceding the election was a series of major social upheavals in 17 and 18, and 19. I want to take just a moment. I want to take a moment here today, and I want to read your slogans from those movements.
Quote, hardliners reformers. The game is over. Now here’s another quote. Here’s another quote. Death to the dictator.
These uprisings shook the very foundations of the regime in its entirety. All of them. The quiet conversations they must be having. They were a precursor to what we see today. The Iranian people pinned no hope on elections overseen by the ayatollah.
They can’t see that as a conduit for change, and they are certainly right. And now the regime, 40 years on, is at its most uncertain point ever. Iranians, not just in Tehran but indeed from every corner of the nation, can see the failure of the regime to deliver on the promise that the regime itself made. Its epic incompetence ruined a nation. Its ineptitude led to an airliner being shut down with hundreds of innocent civilians’ support.
It is no secret to anyone that President Raisi is not the president of the people of Iran. He is the servant of the ayatollah. And Raisi’s mission is clear. Inflict pain, frighten, loot, plunder the wealth of the Iranian people, butcher them if you must, and maintain power at all costs. But you know this.
He has already failed. He’s failed to crush uprisings now 90 days on, and he has certainly failed to break the noble spirit of descent with the Iranian people. He will not break it.
This is the time, and indeed, it may take some time. All of this was the weakened regime, the sham election, the cycle of protests, and brutal crackdowns. Over the past five years, it’s been building to where we are today. Forty years of work and 40 years of resistance against the regime’s brutal repression have now come to a head. I can feel it.
You can see it. The world can see it. The movement we are seeing today is clearly different than what has happened before. The Ayatollah can see it, too. The uprisings led by women, spearheaded by Iranian youth.
It is remarkable to watch their courage. It’s remarkable, too, to note they’re not calling for simple reforms, although that’s necessary and appropriate. They are calling for freedom. They are calling for a regime that fundamentally treats its citizens in different ways. They want a democratic, secular and free republic to vote against any kind of dictatorship.
They are now. You should watch because Tehran wants to discredit the protesters by painting them as driven by foreign agitators. It is not so. They are saying that adherents are advocating for the return of others, of other dictatorships. This is not so either. They want freedom.
This propaganda is powerful. We should acknowledge that. It is rampant, and it is broad. It exists here in Washington; it exists all around the world. But I must say, I do not think it’s fooling too many anymore.
Least of all, it is not fooling you. The people in this room today. The slogans heard all over Iran daily reject such a future for their country. There is unease among some who fear that the protests will lead to chaos and separatism. I’m not an Iranian history scholar, but I’ve read a lot.
I think this is completely wrong. I have watched the protests unfold over the last three months. I have not seen a movement in disarray. Rather, I have seen a united front. Many warring factions vying for a claim do not exist.
It is a people demanding a singular set of freedoms. And I’ve seen this. I have seen a unified people demonstrating incredible bravery and cooperation to bring this regime to heal.
I spoke earlier about the breadth and depth of this. It exists. From Baluchistan to Kurdistan, Arabs in Khuzestan, and indeed to the heart of Iran and Tehran, people of all religions and ethnicities have remained unified in their opposition to the regime and in their prayerful hope for a better future. This is not a movement in disarray. It will have its peaks; it will have its moments.
But we see the true history, the true nation of Iran rebelling against its long-time oppressor. Don’t forget, though, this fight has come at a dear cost. You all know people who have and will continue to suffer. Estimates indicate that hundreds of protesters have already been killed. We know there are many, many in prison, perhaps as many as 30,000 arrested.
Regime officials have threatened to begin mass executions of protesters in an effort to crush these protests. We should not expect them to change. After all, that is what these protests are about. A deep recognition that this regime is incapable of changing. The entire world.
And especially the Biden administration must consistently, daily, repetitively, deeply, and unconditionally condemn these threats.
This is serious business.
We do this with hearts, calling for what we know to be right. And we do not take risks associated with this work lightly. We know that good works are required, and much will have to be sacrificed to achieve the objective. But worthy missions almost always requirement require this. What the regime does not understand is that these aren’t just protests.
This is, in fact, a revolution in the making. It is organized, and it’s powerful. It’s bigger than any one of us—three months of powerful, unyielding protests. Uprisings don’t happen randomly. They’re not the product of foreign meddling, though the regime loves to lie and say that it is. So no, these protests are the result of 40 years of organized opposition to Iran.
So, here’s the time, and here’s the work. For four years in the Trump administration, we put human rights counterterrorism at the center of our policy. If we want to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, we have to apply pressure on them and deny them resources. The program of sanctions we put in place was productive. It was useful.
But in the end, it will be the Iranian people who drive the true change.
And while I am not an Iranian history scholar, I know American history pretty darn well. Our very own founding fathers, men like Thomas Jefferson, were inspired by Cyrus the Great. It is incredible to think about the connection now of millennia in this rich, storied legacy of the Iranian people. Moments like this come in this holiday season here for people of my faith. I pray that God will continue to watch over the Iranian people as they work to make this change.
I pray, I pray that with the support of Iranians living all around the world and those who are resisting from within, the day of their freedom will come soon. I’m committed to this effort. I know you all are, too. May your mission be blessed, and may the Iranian people soon gain the very freedom that they so richly deserve. Thank you.
God bless you.