Good afternoon, Salam, Dorood. I am pleased to have the opportunity to address the organization of Iranian American communities of the United States. Every day, you highlight the plight of Iranians who remain silent under an oppressive, brutal regime. And I share your vision for a brighter future for Iran. A future in which all Iranians live lives without fear and enjoy a government that incredibly represents the will of Iranian citizens, respects human rights and commits to abiding by the rule of law.
Around the region with Russia’s support, Iranian leaders are seeking to increase their footprint in Syria and Iraq, and we know that Hezbollah continues to sow discord around the region.
Across the region, Iran continues to threaten the national security and trust of the United States. It continues to pursue a belligerent, ballistic missiles program. It continues to align itself with Putin and it continues to supply weapons and technical know-how to the Houthis in Yemen. And Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime in Syria is totally depending on its lifeline from Tehran. And even as it continues to supply terrorists across the region with money, weapons and resources, the people of Iran suffer under a repressive regime with absolutely no respect for basic human rights and no economic investment in their welfare.
Your support was critical last year when I introduced the bipartisan Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. Our bill not only holds Iran accountable for its ongoing ballistic missiles development and continued support for terrorism, it expands the scope of human rights and arms embargo violations eligible for sanctions.
Thank you for coming together and making your voices heard. I will always support justice and human rights, peace and security and above all else, the rights of all Iranians to fundamental freedoms.
• Sen. Menendez is the Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas Republican
Thank you very much for asking me to speak at this event, and I apologize that I am unable to make the gathering in Paris, France, on June 30, 2018. As you know, I am an active member of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus, which aims to shed light on the efforts of the Iranian people to bring change and democracy to their country.
I am disturbed by the rising number of human rights violations in Iran and the fact that the Iranian regime has been holding its own citizens at gunpoint. The U.S. remains committed to democracy, human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law, and supports the Iranian people in their calls for a democratic government that respects these rights and freedoms. I also remain committed to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program and providing them to non-state actors. Yours is a noble cause and it is very important that we continue the dialogue on this matter. I hope it is a productive gathering, and I wish you all the best of luck.
• Sen. Boozman is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all attending this year’s free Iran convention held in Paris. The well-being of the Iranian people is a critical issue to me, and that is why I am pleased that this event exists to spread awareness and build support for change in Iran.
In the decades since the revolution of 1979, millions of Iranians have struggled under the weight of an oppressive and hard-line regime. While I am proud that the United States and many others have continuously stood up for the freedom of the Iranian people, I know that there is still much we can do to demand change. Advocates such as you make it clear to all that the Iranian people have had enough and are eager for reform.
It is tragic that the people of your homeland have had to endure numerous abuses of fundamental human rights and freedoms in recent decades. Thanks to efforts such as yours, the challenges facing Iranians have been brought to international attention. I commend each of you for all you have done to strengthen ties among the regime’s opposition and for all you have done to fight for a government that represents the interests of its people. Please know that I will always remain a friend of the Iranian people and be their champion in the U.S. Senate.
• Sen. Cardin is the Ranking Member on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues.
Sen. David Perdue, Georgia Republican
Welcome to the 2018 International Convention for a Free Iran. You represent Iranian American communities across the entire country.
For years, you have worked to expose the Iranian regime’s systemic human rights violations. This year, Iranians have taken to the streets to protest their government on several occasions, including this week. Even as the regime tries to stifle their voices, you have relentlessly supported freedom for the people of Iran. The Iranian American community of Georgia has been a major part of that effort. Your commitment, hard work and support of this cause have not gone unnoticed.
My message to you today is simply I hear you and I appreciate so much all your efforts. Having served in the United States Foreign Relations Committee and now in the Armed Services Committee, I am committed to doing all I can to advance and defend basic freedoms in human rights for Iranians and others around the world. You have been a crucial part of this effort, and I know you will continue to be in the future. Again, thank you for all you do.
• Sen. Perdue is Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops, and serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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