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Public Statements

Democracy In Iran

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FILNER. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of democracy in Iran and stability in Iraq. We in the United States Congress must work together for a stable and democratic Iraq. Today, there is undisputable evidence that Iran is the main contributor to the violence in Iraq which causes American and Iraqi casualties.

On July 4, Iran fired yet another GRAD missile at Ashraf City, the residence compound of the Iranian resistance--the People's Mujahadeen Organization of Iran. Iran's mercenaries in Iraq have also been busy calling for arrest, trial, and expulsion of these ``protected persons'' living in Ashraf. Our soldiers are protecting Ashraf in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. Iranian action has therefore endangered them as well.

I have said many times that the mullahs in Tehran do not hold all the cards. The Iranian regime's aggressive policies are rooted in the weakness of their regime. The unrelenting assault on the civil and human rights of the Iranian people is a direct response to the illegitimacy of the extremist theocratic government. A military attack on Iran would be a tragic mistake. Yet, it is an error almost as grave to think that continued appeasement of the Iranian regime is the only alternative to war.

Reasonably, Western democracies, with the support of the peace activist community, should use all peaceful means possible to isolate the Iranian regime and to avoid war. However, the desire for a peaceful resolution of this crisis has led into policy choices which provide Iran with the legitimacy it craves and a strengthened diplomatic hand.

The most notable remnant of the West's unsuccessful attempt at ``engagement'' with Iran is the designation of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, also known as the MEK, as a foreign terrorist organization. The MEK provided significant intelligence that helped blow the whistle on Iran's clandestine nuclear weapon and missile development programs.

The MEK has already been removed from the United Kingdom list of terrorist organizations. Late last month, the British parliament approved the order put before it by that country's home secretary and removed the MEK from the UK blacklist. In light of the recent developments, the United States must seriously consider the court's findings as well as the present political environment and also remove the limitations it has placed on the MEK.

We must stop appeasing Iran and shift our support to the Iranian people. They are our best allies against Iran's aggression. Iranian people have an unwavering longing for freedom and democracy. We must work together to acknowledge their resounding rejection of extremism and move to support their efforts for democracy in Iran.

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