Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday urged Iranian dissidents to “continue the fight” against the radical regime in Tehran, as a prominent dissident group meets at the top to renew calls for an Iran secular and democratic.
“We must continue to support the Iranian people as they fight for a freer and more democratic Iran in every way possible,” Pompeo told participants of the National Council’s “Free Iran World Summit”. Iranian Resistance (NCRI). “There is so much good work that American civil society can do to achieve this goal. It is work that your organization is actively engaged in – keep up the fight.”
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Pompeo was one of the many speakers on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Cory Booker, DN.J., Robert Menendez, DN.J., and parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, as well as European politicians.
Booker praised Iranian-American contributions to American society and praised Iranians who challenged âthe authoritarian Iranian regimeâ in protests and social movements.
“Their desire for democracy and justice outweighed their fear of being hurt or imprisoned,” he said, saying he was confident that one day the world would see a “free and open” Iran.
The largely virtual event included hundreds of Iranian activists appearing from inside Iran at key monuments, their faces blurred, to show continued resistance in Iran.
The summit comes just weeks after hard-line Ebrahim Raisi won the country’s presidential election amid massive boycotts of the process and accusations of regime rigging. Raisi was sanctioned by the United States for his involvement in human rights abuses – and was linked to the mass execution of dissidents in the 1980s.
NCRI president-elect Maryam Rajavi said forcing Raisi to power was a sign of the regime’s weakness and an effort to hold onto power against democratic uprisings.
“But they actually dug their own graves,” she said. “They are like a scorpion that stings itself after being surrounded by flames. Only the fear of the regime’s uprisings and the political disappearance of the Supreme Leader can explain Raisi’s assumption of office.”
The regime has been weakened by a series of protests, including over its handling of the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic at home, and increased pressure from US foreign policy under the Trump administration. The United States abandoned the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed waves of sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime.
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Pompeo used his remarks to target efforts in Washington to re-engage with Iran and re-enter the Iran nuclear deal – and warned against efforts to fund the Iranians under a deal.
“We cannot flood the Ayatollah with money and economic benefits in the hope that he will not use it to inflict terror,” Pompeo said. “This thought is stupid, dangerous and backward.”
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“The sanctions and pressure program used by the Trump administration must remain the model of engagement with Iran if we are to ensure the safety of the American people and a better life for the Iranian people,” he said. .
Raisi recently said he would not meet with President Biden, at least until the sanctions are lifted.
âThe United States is compelled to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran,â Raisi said at a press conference.