4/02/2012

Linda Chavez – Iranian Regime, A Threat to the World .

FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE OF IRAN

NCRI - In an unprecedented conference in Paris on 10 March, 2012, women who had gathered from several continents called for support for women who have risen in the Arab world to struggle against tyranny and fundamentalism and also for women of Iranian Resistance in camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq who are facing serious threats. This conference was convened at a time that the second group of 400 Ashraf residents has moved to Camp Liberty in Iraq.


Linda Chavez:
Thank you.  Thank you very much.  It is an honor and a pleasure to be with you today to celebrate the International Women’s Day.  A friend of mine once said that if you want to understand human rights in any country, you need look no further than to see how the society treats its women.  And as we have heard today from Madame Rajavi, and from many of the distinguished parliamentarians today, the situation of the women of Iran is desperate.  They are less than second class citizens.  They are denied the most basic human rights and freedoms: the freedom to choose whom to marry, what to wear.  They are denied the freedom over their own children.  For 30, more than 30 years, the women of Iran have suffered, as have all of the people of Iran, under a misogynistic and brutal regime.
But Iran is not only a threat to its women and to all of the people of Iran.  The regime in Iran is a threat to all the people in the world.  And as we look today at the prospect that the regime in Iran is about to acquire the capability to build nuclear weapons, we understand that this threat is more than a threat to freedom.  It is a threat to the lives of people throughout the world.  We’ve heard today about the suffering of the people of Syria and of the efforts of people in that country to be able to strike out against their regime.  But this is a regime in Syria, of Bashar al-Assad, that is supported by the regime in Iran.  Iran is today the chief state sponsor of terrorism throughout the world and this is a fundamental threat to all freedom loving people.  I come here as an American.  And as an American we know the real threat of the terrorist regime in Iran because America has suffered hundreds of lives lost to terrorism under the regime in Tehran.
We also must be aware as Americans that the United States has a responsibility, not just as a leader in the world, but also a responsibility to honor our commitments.  And when it comes to Camp Ashraf, the United States took a solemn pledge, and in fact signed an agreement with every single resident of Camp Ashraf to protect their very lives and to honor that agreement.  Unfortunately, once the United States withdrew that agreement has not been honored.  And as we have heard today, there have been twice attacks by the Iraqi government on the people of Camp Ashraf.  And in those attacks, there have been lives that have been lost, many of those lives, the lives of women.  The most recent of which occurred in April of 2011 when, where 36 people died and many hundreds of others were, in fact, injured.
Now we see that Camp Ashraf is being dismantled and the people within that camp are now being transferred to Camp Liberty.  But liberty, as we have heard today over and over again, has no meaning in Camp Liberty because the people who are imprisoned there have no liberty at all.  Their liberties, in the most basic ways, are being denied.  Not just the freedom of movement, but basic dignity and basic humanitarian treatment is also denied them.  The only real liberty will come to the people of Camp Liberty when they have the freedom to live where they choose.  [applause]  As you know, that freedom right now is being impeded by U.S. policy because so long as the PMOI is designated on the terrorist list there will be many countries that will, in fact, shut their doors to those who want to leave and to live elsewhere.  Now, the current administration has been reluctant to lift that terrorist designation and some would argue they have been reluctant to do so because they hope, as this president has hoped from when he was a candidate for the presidency, to somehow earn the goodwill of the mullahs in Tehran.  Well, I am here to say there is no way nor should there be any effort to win the goodwill of those who terrorize their own people and are a threat to the world.  [applause]  If the United States wants to send a signal, it ought to be not to designate people like Maryam Rajavi as terrorists, but to point the finger at the real terrorists who are the mullahs in Iran.  [applause]
It has been a distinct honor and a privilege to be here with you today.  It was a wonderful experience to receive that gift from the residents of Ashraf in that wonderful performance that we just heard.  But I want to tell you that I hope that this is the very last conference that those in this room will have to attend.  I hope that there will never have to be another conference to talk about what is going on in Camp Ashraf or Camp Liberty.  I hope we will not have to talk about [applause] the lack of freedom for the women in Iran.  But that will only come when the people of Iran are truly free and represented by an elected government.  So, I say to you, next year, let us not meet in Paris.  Next year, in Tehran.