Bipartisan Congressional Call for a Free Iran

In a crucial bipartisan briefing senior bi-partisan members of Congress and Iran experts and scholars called for freedom in Iran. Members of Congress and policy experts, called for carrying out a firm policy towards the ruling clerics of Iran.

In his remarks, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) urged the US administration to concentrate on assisting the Iranian people and promoting their cause. He stated “Let's work to see that Iran is free and that the situation changes internally.”

Other bi-partisan Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, included Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Middle East and North Africa; Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), Chair, House FAC Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade; Rep. Steve Shabot (R-OH), Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Brad Sherman (D-CA), senior member of the HFAC; Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), senior member of the Judiciary Committee, Tom Garrett (R-VA), House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Member of the Judiciary Committee, Co-Chair House Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus. The briefing, arranged by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, was entitled: Iran Regime’s Threats & Rights Violations: Policy Options.

House Middle East Subcommittee Chair, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) pointed out, “A democratic free Iran is the best interest of the US and the world.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) ,  House Middle East Subcommittee Chair
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) , House Middle East Subcommittee Chair

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Senior House Foreign Affairs Committee Member also added, “The United States must work with Iranian people to help them bring freedom in Iran.”

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), a House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) member, warned that, “The current approach to Iran regime is dauntingly familiar to the world's approach to (1930s) Germany - one of appeasement.”

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), a <strong>House Foreign Affairs Committee</strong>
(HFAC) member
Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), a House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) member

Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), Chair of HFAC Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, said that policymakers should remember that, ”The Iranian regime murdered 30,000 political prisoners in a few months in 1988, adding, “US must stand with the Iranian people to help them bring down the mullahs.”

Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), Chair of HFAC Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade
Judge Ted Poe (R-TX), Chair of HFAC Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade

The Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), the Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, “I will never forget that NCRI revealed Iran’s nuke program. Without it, the regime would have had the bomb by now.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), the Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and a ranking member of the Hou
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), the Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

In addition, the Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) highlighted the plight of the members of Iran’s organized and primary opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Until 2016, the members resided in Iraq and they currently have a private property in Iraq. The Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) stated “The U.S. must pressure Iraq to reimburse MEK for its property in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-TX) Lee called for a, “political tsunami to uproot the regime in Tehran and bring freedom to Iran,” adding, “We must condemn the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran and hold the regime accountable. There needs to be a Commission of Inquiry on the 1988 massacre.”

Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), senior member of the Judiciary Committee,
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), senior member of the Judiciary Committee,

Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-TX) further noted “I am glad to have met (NCRI’s President) Maryam Rajavi, who has called for a free Iran and for religious tolerance.”

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

In may remarks, I shed light on Tehran’s domestic and foreign policy including reports from Amnesty International and Human rights Watch regarding human rights violations, the IRGC role in the region, and what policy should US pursue towards the ruling clerics of Iran.

Promoting freedom in Iran does not mean going into war with Iran. The best policy that the US and other governments can pursue towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is the policy of firmness and decisiveness and recognizing the rights of the Iranian people and organized opposition to establish democracy and human rights in Iran. When I was asked what the most effective policy is to counter the clerical establishment in Iran, I drew on a multidimensional strategy with six facets addressing several issues simultaneously including Iran’s nuclear agreement, ballistic program, human rights, and regional role.

The bipartisan call by members of Congress as well as Iranian policy experts, for establishing democracy and freedom in Iran and countering the ruling clerics’ hegemonic ambitions, shows that the tide is significantly changing against the Islamic Republic and shifting in favor of democratic forces (Iranian people and organized opposition). It also demonstrate the urgency to support such an honorable, just, humanitarian and nonpartisan cause for freedom, justice, rule of law, human rights and social justice.

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Harvard-educated, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a world-renowned business strategist and advisor, a leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council on the Middle East, and best-selling author. He serves on the advisory board of Harvard International Review.

Dr. Rafizadeh is frequently invited to brief governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as speak, as a featured speaker, at security, business, diplomatic, and social events. He has been recipient of several fellowships and scholarships including from Oxford University, Annenberg, University of California Santa Barbara, Fulbright program, to name a few.

He is regularly quoted and invited to speak on national and international outlets including CNN, BBC World TV and Radio, ABC, Aljazeera English, Fox News, CTV, RT, CCTV America, Skynews, CTV, and France 24 International, to name a few. . He analyses have appeared on academic and non-academic publications including New York Times International, Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The Nation, The National. Aljazeera, The Daily Beast, The Nation, Jerusalem Post, The Economic Times, USA Today Yale Journal of International Affairs, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and Harvard International Review. He is a board member of several significant and influential international and governmental institutions, and he is native speaker of several of languages including Persian and Arabic. He also speaks Dari, and can converse in French, Hebrew. More at Harvard. And You can learn more about Dr. Rafizadeh on here. A version of this post was originally published on the Arab News.

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